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Made on Earth 

A History of the Louisburg United^ Methodist &11 

■■niii . ;.■■■•■ 

Sarah I Davis 

Covenant Made on Earth 

A History of the Louisburg United 
Methodist Church 

by Sarah I. Davis 

Louisburg NC 2001 

Copyright © 2001 by Sarah I. Davis 

Published by The Chapel Hill Press, Inc, 

600 Franklin Square 

1829 East Franklin Street 

Chapel Hill, NC 27514 

(919) 942-8389 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be 

reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or 

transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, 

mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, 

without permission in writing from the copyright 


ISBN 1-880849-34-8 

Printed and bound in the United States of America 


Table of Contents 

List of Illustrations iv 

Foreword v 

Chapter 1: The 18th-Century Beginnings: The Founding 
Fathers 11 

Chapter 2: The Tar River Circuit 61 

Chapter 3: From Circuit to Station 88 

Chapter 4: The Civil War and the End of the Century. 116 

Chapter 5: The Twentieth Century: The First Four 
Decades 169 

Chapter6: Midcentury Expansion: 1940-1970 198 

Chapter 7: Into the Nineties 230 

Appendix 255 

Index 273 





List of Illustrations 

1. "Green Hill's House," Louisburg, North Carolina, built about 1775. From W. L. 
Grissom, History ofMehodism in North Carolina from 1772 to the Present Time, Vol. 

1. Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Publishing House, 1905 6 

2. The Green Hill House as Remodelled in the 1930s. From Emory S. Bucke, ed., 
History of American Methodism, Vol I. Nashville: Abingdon, 1964 7 

3. "Liberty Hill," Green Hill's House built in the 1790s twelve miles south of 
Nashville, Tennessee. Site of the Western Conference of 1808. From The Missionary 
Voice, XVIII: 2 (Feb. 1928), Nashville TN: Publishing House of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South 20 

4. Green Hill's Gravestone, near Nashville, Tennessee. "Born in the old County /... [?] 
N. C, Nov. 3, 1741 / Died Sept. 1 1th 1826 / Was a major in the/ colonial army and a/ 
member of the first, second / and third successive sessions / of the Provincial Congress 
of/ North Carolina." The last line of the inscription is an illegible Bible verse. From The 
Missionary Voice, XVIII: 2 (Feb. 1928), Nashville TN: Publishing House of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South 23 

5. John King Preaching in Baltimore in 1770 (on a block in front of the blacksmith 
shop at Front and Center streets). From Elmer T Clark, An Album of Methodist History, 
Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1952 29 

6. "John King Preaching at Baltimore (reproduced from the original drawing by 
Thomas Coke Ruckle, now at Lovely Lane Museum)." From Emory S. Bucke, ed., 
History of American Methodism, Vol I. Nashville: Abingdon, 1964 30 

7. Louisburg Methodist Church, 1850-1900. From the collection of Margaret 
Howard, Church Historian in the mid-20th century. 99 

8. "Louisburg College Main Building as pictured in the earliest known drawing 
(1861); the building was constructed for Louisburg Female College which opened in 
1857." From The United Methodist Mission in Higher Education: Retrospect and Prospects . 
Louisburg NC: Louisburg College, 1989 126 

9. Louisburg Methodist Church in the 1930s. Courtesy of Sammy Beasley of 
Louisburg 149 

10. Louisburg College in 1917. From a postcard 175 

1 1 . Louisburg College, Front Campus. From the College Catalogue for 1937 226 

COVER: Top: "Asbury beginning his itinerant ministry." From Elmer T Clark, An 
Album of Methodist History, Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1952. 

Bottom: Louisburg United Methodist Church, 1999. From the program of 
the Consecration service. 



The title comes from "A Covenant Prayer in the Wesley an 
Tradition," No. 607 in the United Methodist Hymnal (1989). The 
concluding lines are "And the covenant which I have made on earth, let 
it be ratified in heaven." The covenanter is not solely the individual but 
also the congregation, and the covenant of the spirit with the divine 
includes service on earth. Since the 18th century the followers of John 
Wesley have borne in mind the injunction "Feed my sheep." 

The Louisburg United Methodist Church celebrated its 
bicentennial in April 1985, the anniversary of the first conference at 
Green Hill, which was also the first annual conference of the Methodist 
Church in America, organized in 1784. The date of the bicentennial 
was well chosen. Holding the 1785 conference in Louisburg meant 
that in this place there were local Methodist leaders of some 
significance and that they had a loyal and active following, perhaps 
forming a Society, even if they did not have a church building. The 
historical sequence may have been that first there existed people who 
wanted religious services; next arrived the preachers they gathered to 
hear; then came an organization that regularly filled their needs. The 
Green Hill conference was the first annual gathering of those who had 
formed such an organization nationally; locally, however, it is 
noteworthy that, in addition to the "prophets of the long road" who 
were present for the conference, there were in attendance two 
significant leaders of early Methodism who were also residents of the 
town of Louisburg. One was Green Hill, the host, a local preacher, 
significant civic leader active on the side of the colonists in the 
Revolution, and a member of the North Carolina legislature. The other 
was the last person to climb the stairs and enter the room before the 
beginning of the session; this was John King, who had arrived from 
England in 1770 and since then had made a name and a place for 
himself from Philadelphia to North Carolina. He had married a 
resident of the Louisburg area and had setded a few miles from town 
with his growing family. Before his saddlebags touched the floor, Dr. 
Thomas Coke had called upon him for the invocation (McTyeire, p. 

The history of the Louisburg Methodist Church, then, must begin 
with the activity of Methodists in the area. The Green Hill conference is 
a logical target date. Established local leaders and a gathering of local 
Methodists made this significant event a logical choice for the 
beginning of the Louisburg Methodist Church. The area was Bute 
County, part of which became Franklin County early in 1779, and part 

of which became Louisburg by legislative charter late in 1779. The first 
church building belonging to Methodists in Louisburg was 
constructed on land bought for the purpose in 1830. In the preceding 
century, however, a structure on the Franklinton road three miles from 
town was used by any denomination that had a preacher to preach in it. 
Methodist itinerants also preached at Green Hill's house outside town. 
After the conference, local Methodists knew their significance to the 

Before 1785, when the conference took place, and certainly by 
1780, when Asbury first preached there, Green Hill's home came to be 
known among traveling Methodist preachers as a place to stop 
overnight and often also to preach. The importance for Methodism of 
the place that would in 1779 become Louisburg increased with the 
addition of John King in 1778. Thus both Hill and King were residents 
of Louisburg at the time of the establishment of the Tar River Circuit in 
1779, and such itinerants as Francis Poythress, Daniel Shine, and 
William Ormond, stationed on the Tar River Circuit, served a 
Methodist gathering living in this area. Although neither Green Hill 
nor John King lived out his life in Louisburg, both were active 
Methodist leaders residing during the 1770s and 1780s in the 
settlement that became Louisburg. 

A church's history is perhaps for the greater part made up of 
decisions of the congregation or of appointed governing groups within 
the congregation. Where there is no organized congregation, or where 
information about it is lacking, accounts of the people making up the 
church are a substitute, their actions with regard to the church first, 
their life stories subsequently. In this way the history of the Louisburg 
church begins with the conferences in the area, the conference leaders 
who were residents, and the appointed circuit riders who served the 
region. Assuming that a number of people were needed to build or buy 
a church in 1830, our knowledge of congregational history starts at 
that point. Even then, however, much of the history of the 
congregation in both the 18th and the 19th centuries is made up of the 
stories of individuals who functioned in the church. This history 
reflects also the congregation's perpetual and significant relationship to 
Louisburg College and its predecessors, the local male and female 

In writing about the 20th century, with its shifting population and 
frequent relocations of members of the congregation, I have listed 
many more names — of board members, of committee members, of 
program participants — than the outsider will care to read. However, 
for people who gave decades of service or attendance to the church, 
mention of the name substitutes for acknowledgement of their being 
part of the vital body of the congregation. Official records constitute a 


mere overlay that at best reveals an abstract framework of the make-up 
of the church. The index, although there are sure to be omissions, is a 
reference tool providing some slight acknowledgement of many 
members of the congregation and perpetuating their names. 

A further service of the index is to amplify access to the themes and 
events of the various pastorates. Recognition of pastors in 
chronological order in each chapter is uneven and necessarily fails to 
represent the various pastorates; the index leads the researcher to 
additional information regarding ministers. 

Soon after I retired and returned to Louisburg, Judge Hamilton 
Hobgood of the Board of Trustees asked me if I would serve as 
historian of the church. In view of the fact that the Church already had a 
historian, a capable one who knew the local scene much better than I 
from having lived in it continuously, and considering that I had lived 
elsewhere for about forty-five years, I understood the request to mean 
that the Church wanted a written history, which the historian, teaching 
full time, lacked time to write. After several years of miscellaneous 
reading and research in the past of the Church and the Methodist 
movement, I began writing seriously about five years ago. It will be up 
to historian Joe Pearce to continue this history past 1995, as well as to 
add what has been omitted from my account. 

I owe thanks to many people — in manuscript collections, in 
libraries, on the internet. The first person to respond positively to this 
history was the Rev. C. B. Owens, who found the 1970-1995 chapter, 
which I wrote first, helpful. Welcome encouragement of publication 
came with the arrival of Minister A. Gene Cobb in 1999. An 
enthusiastic supporter throughout was Dr. James H. Overton, retired 
Methodist minister living in Winston-Salem, whose collection of 
books on Methodist history occupies a special place in the C. W 
Robbins Library of Louisburg College. Dr. Overton sent me a written 
reaction to each chapter as he received it, each letter containing valuable 
criticism. I am grateful to Louisburg College Librarian Judy Parrish 
for, among many helpful services, introducing me to Dr. Overton and 
the collection. In the congregation, my faithful reader and informed 
adviser, chapter by chapter, was Mary Anne Person, active in and 
knowledgeable about the church since 1950. Doris Davis gave me 
valuable material, published and unpublished, from Green Hill, 
including a principal source for the mid- 19th century. Others who 
generously gave their time to augmenting my information are credited 
in the lists of sources following each section. 



Information has been documented according to the following 
system: Author's names and publication data are listed alphabetically at 
the end of each chapter. In the text, sources are given in parentheses 
following the information presented, as, for example, "(Brooks)," if the 
source is unpublished, or "(E. H. Davis, p. 16)" if the source is 
published and there is also a work by another Davis in the same 

Louisburg NC March 2001 


Chapter 1 

The 18th-Century Beginnings: 
The Founding Fathers 

The 18th-Century Scene. Founding Fathers: Two Local Preachers. Green 
Hill: Early Days and Revolutionary Activity; Green Hill after the Revolution; Hill 
Genealogy. John King. The Layman's Experience: Societies, Bands, and Classes. 
Meeting Houses and Church Buildings. 

The Eighteenth-Century Scene 

William Byrd, an aristocratic, Church-of-England Virginian, wrote 
in his history of the establishment of the North Carolina-Virginia 
boundary in 1728 his impressions of the religious condition of the 
boundary area. Quakerism, he wrote, "prevails much in the lower end 
of Nansimond county, for want of Ministers to Pilot the People in a 
decenter way to Heaven." The "ill Reputation" of the area made 
clergymen unwilling to serve there. "Thus, whether the Churches be 
quite void or but indifferently filled, the Quakers will have an 
Opportunity of gaining Proselytes. Tis a wonder no Popish 
Missionaries are sent from Maryland to labour in the Neglected 
Vineyard, who we know have Zeal enough to traverse Sea and Land on 
the Meritorious Errand of making converts. Nor is it less strange that 
some Wolf in Sheep's cloathing arrives not from New England to lead 
astray a Flock that has no shepherd" (Byrd, p. 68). The inhabitants of 
North Carolina, he continued, "live in a climate where no clergyman 
can Breathe, any more than Spiders in Ireland" (p. 72). They are 
married by a justice of the peace, he wrote, and, "if a parson happen to 
appear," their children are baptized. There follows his judgment of 
Edenton, North Carolina: "I believe this is the only Metropolis in the 
Christian or Mahometan World, where there is neither Church, 
Chappel, Mosque, Synagogue, or any other Place of Public Worship of 
any Sect or Religion whatsoever" (p. 96). Even though, within a mile 
of the Edenton courthouse, a chapel of the established church was built 
in 1703 by the vestrymen of St. Pauls (p. 96), its chances of keeping a 
pastor were, according to Byrd and other sources, poor. 

Such a setting was ripe for the Methodist movement. But Wesley's 
representatives would not arrive in North Carolina for another thirty 


years. George Whitefield wrote a decade after Byrd that a scarce 
population lived at a distance from places of worship, which amounted 
to "a few churches scattered among a dispersed population." In North 
Carolina," he observed, "there is scarcely so much as the form of 
religion" (Lambert, p. 100-101). 

The Methodist movement was a part of the religious revivalism of 
the 18th century to which the name "The Great Awakening" has been 
applied. All the colonies appear to have been affected by the preaching 
of George Whitefield, even by the first of his seven tours, that of 
1739-1740. Benjamin Franklin wrote that after Whitefield's first visit 
to Philadelphia it "was wonderful to see the change soon made in the 
manners of our inhabitants"; they had been "thoughdess or indifferent 
about religion" before; but now "one could not walk thro' the town in 
an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every 
street" (Franklin, p. 97). And the Presbyterian Samuel Davies, 
especially his preaching in Virginia between 1748 and 1759, furthered 
the spread of the revivalism that is evidenced in the increase in Baptists 
and Methodists before the Revolution. In the 1770s the Virginia 
clergyman Devereux Jarrett similarly inspired fervor in both Virginia 
and North Carolina. By 1776, "northeastern North Carolina and 
southern Virginia had become the cradle of southern Methodism in 
one of the biggest revivals ever experienced by the Methodist church in 
America" (Watson, p. 94). Revivalism promoted the growth of shared 
interests among colonies, of opposition to the Anglican church and 
royal officials, and of a sense of the importance of the spiritual 
experience of the individual, a democratic impulse in religion. 

Conversion, or immediate individual response to God, was 
essential, not only that of persons of status in church and society but 
also conversion of the condemned man on the steps of the gallows. And 
when sermons were preached and saved souls were counted, as Asbury 
recounts in his journals, no distinction was made as to color, whether 
red, black, or white; conversion was a democratic and intensely 
personal experience that did not necessarily take place at the altar rail. 
The prototype of the conversion experience for Methodists is that of 
John Wesley on Aldersgate Street in London. Jesse Lee, born in 
Virginia in 1758 and experiencing maximum exposure to evangelists 
(his father was a Methodist), described his own conversion as taking 
place as a result of "distress of soul" when he was "alone in the field." 
"One morning being in deep distress, and . . . viewing myself as 
hanging over the pit, I was constrained to cry in earnest for mercy, and 
the Lord came to my relief and delivered my soul from the burden and 
guilt of sin!" That this was a conversion experience was confirmed for 
him later by the answers he gave to a religious neighbor who 
questioned him on the subject (Thrift, pp. 7-10). 

The revivalist themes were virtually inescapable in the 18th century. 
Literacy increased enormously during both the 17th and 18 th centuries 
(Lambert, p. 138), and Whitefield's revivals commanded attention in 
the colonial newspapers, which were established and became extremely 
popular from the 1740s. In the press, only Britain's war with Spain 
commanded equal attention with Whitefield's revivals (Lambert, p. 
107). In 1739, Whitefield brought with him to America abundant 
experience in using the printing press to attract attention to his 
ministry (Lambert, p. 92), and between 1737 and 1745, his works 
were printed in the colonies at a ratio of one copy for every eleven 
people (Lambert, p. 137). 

Revivalism had its unattractive side. Although one writer 
condemned "the incoherent, wild, and unconnected jargon" of 
Whitefield's associates, he then acknowledged that these preachers 
"had greater success than the Church of England clergymen" (Belden, 
p. 215). The Bishop of Oxford "disapproved of the hysterical 
phenomenon that attended John Wesley's early preaching in the open 
as 'a horrid thing, a very horrid thing'" (Rowse, p. 152). Nevertheless, 
the very "deadness and dullness of the religious world" around the early 
Methodists made the societies (worship and study groups that met 
apart from regular worship services) a significant and attractive outlet 
(Belden, pp. 24-25). 

Methodism was a late comer among the religious sects. In North 
Carolina, Quakers appear to have been a significant minority sect at the 
end of the seventeenth century Baptists established a congregation in 
1727, and Presbyterians (the Scotch and Scotch-Irish), who began 
arriving in the first decade of the eighteenth century, steadily gained 
strength through the century (Powell, pp. 124-125). Philadelphia was 
the breeding ground of both the Methodist and the Baptist 
movements, but of the Baptists first. In North Carolina, the Kehukee 
Baptist church in what is now Halifax County was established in 1729 
and the Reedy Creek church in Bute (Warren) County in 1745 (Allen). 
The Church of England maintained its dominance in Virginia and in 
the new east-coast settlements of North Carolina, though it was 
essentially inactive in the scattered settlements of the interior. 
Nevertheless, one reason for the flourishing of the Methodist form of 
revivalism in the South was the fact that it was an outgrowth of the 
Church of England (Sweet, p. 66); one only moved into the next pew, 
even if one's father did not make the move. 

One of Wesley's appointed representatives, who arrived in North 
Carolina in 1772, was moved by the absence of the church in the 
province. Joseph Pilmore preached at Currituck Courthouse on 
Sunday, December 19, and felt his efforts were successful. "I felt my 
heart greatly affected with tender concern for the people in this 

Province who are in general as sheep having no Shepherd." The 
province, he continued, was two hundred miles wide, settled almost 
four hundred miles "in length from the sea," and the Church of 
England was established there. Yet "in all this Country there are but 
eleven Ministers!" (Maser, p. 169). 


Allen, John Edward. "Some Family Records." Unpublished mimeographed 
typescript, 1961. See the section "John King, Pioneer of Methodism." 

Belden, Albert D. George Whitefield: The Awakener. Nashville: Cokesbury, 1930. 
Byrd, William. William Byrd's Histories of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia and 
North Carolina. Edited by William K. Boyd. New York: Dover Publications, 1967. 

Franklin, Benjamin. Autobiography and Other Writings. Ed. Russel B. Nye. 
Riverside Editions. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1958. 

Lambert, Frank. "Pedlar in Divinity": George Whitefield and the Transatlantic 
Revival, 1737-1770. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994. 

Maser, Frederick E., and Howard T. Maag, eds. The Journal of Joseph Pilmore, 
Methodist Itinerant . Philadelphia: Message Publishing Co., 1969. 

McTyeire, Holland N. A History of Methodism. Nashville: Southern Methodist 
Publishing House, 1885. 

Powell, William S. North Carolina Through Four Centuries. Chapel Hill NC: 
University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 

Rowse, A. L. Oxford in the History of the Nation. London: Weidenfeld and 
Nicolson, 1975. 

Sweet, W. W. Revivalism in America: Its Origin, Growth, and Decline. New York: 
Charles Scribner, 1944. 

Thrift, Minton. Memoir of the Reverend J esse Lee with Extracts fi-om his Journals. New 
York: Bangs and Mason, 1823. 

Watson, Alan D. Society in Colonial North Carolina. Rev. Ed. Raleigh NC: 
Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1996. 


Founding Fathers: Two Local Preachers 

Green Hill 

Early Days and Revolutionary Activity. Studies of Green Hill set a 
few fundamental facts to the fore; all biographers admit at the outset 
that very little is known about him. He was born on 3 November 1741 
in Granville (later Bute) County, and died in September 1826 in the 
home he built at the turn of the century near Nashville, Tennessee. His 
father was Green Hill, a landowner "of substantial means" (Malone), 
and his mother was Grace Bennett, daughter of William Bennett of 
Northampton County NC. William Bennett, who was born in 
Nansemond County, Virginia, in 1690, and died in Northampton 
County in 1765 (Allen), was a major landowner and a colonel of militia 
in 1748. On her mother's side, Grace Bennett was a daughter of a 
member of the Van Cordandt and Van Rennselaer families of New York 
(see "Hill Genealogy"). 

Nothing is known concerning his childhood and education. 
Malone tells us that he and his brothers William and Henry were 
members of the Blandford-Bute Masonic Lodge. He attended five 
North Carolina provincial congresses in the 1770s, and his home in 
Louisburg was for decades a stopover for traveling Methodists. He was 
host to four Methodist conferences at his home in Louisburg. In 
Tennessee he advanced beyond the stage of "local preacher" to "full 
connection" as a Methodist minister and then as deacon. 

Green Hill's life and labors centered about two themes, which 
prove to be closely related in origin. He was an active participant in the 
American Revolution on the one hand and a leader in the rise of 
Methodism in North Carolina on the other. Growing up in a period of 
passionate feeling about religious issues, at some point he moved over 
into the newer branch of the faith of his father. Green Hill the elder was 
a vestryman of the Anglican Church appointed in the parish of St. 
George in 1758 (Malone). But the son responded to the currents of 
religious feeling around him: He may have been affected by the 
revivalism of Samuel Davies in Virginia in the 1750s though not by 
Davies' Presbyterianism. 

George Whitefield's evangelical tours of the Colonies, which began 
in 1739, were a part of the ambience of Green Hill's childhood. The 
Methodists were late-comers to the denominational scene of colonial 
North Carolina, but they probably came at just the right time to 
influence the young Green Hill, born in 1741. The first Methodist 
sermon preached in North Carolina is generally said to be that of 
Joseph Pilmoor in Currituck Courthouse on 28 September 1772. By 

■^■smc >■, 

"Green Hill's House," Louisburg, North Carolina, built about 1775. From W. L. Grissom, 

History of Methodism in North Carolina from 1772 to the Present Time, Vol I. Nashville: 

Methodist Episcopal Publishing House, 1905. 

the time of this "official" arrival of Methodism, Green Hill was 
thirty-one years old and almost surely already converted to Methodism 
and the American Revolution. It is impossible to know whether he was 
persuaded by revivalist sermons, by reports of them in the newspapers, 
or by reading the well-disseminated works of Whitefield — or perhaps 
by some individual bringer of the message to Northampton County or 
southern Virginia. 

In any case, Francis As bury, on his first visit to North Carolina in 
the summer of 1780, found the home of Green Hill a natural place to 
stop. That, however, was a late date. Masonic records yield earlier dates 
which may pertain to revivalism as well as to the revolutionary impulse. 
The three brothers William, Henry, and Green Hill, Jr., were all 
Masons, members of the Blandford-Bute Masonic Lodge of Masons 
(Malone). This lodge had been formed and held meetings in Bute 
County as early as 1766 (Allen, p. 5). The first lodge hall, Allen writes, 
was a few miles from old Jones's Springs, a famous watering place for 
nearly a century, not far from the old Bute County Courthouse. The 
lodge was afterward moved to Warrenton and became 
Johnston-Caswell No. 10, of which Allen was a member. The members 
for the most part came from the vicinity of Petersburg, Virginia, the 
source of the name Blandford; the Petersburg Blandford lodge was in 
fact chartered in 1757. These lodges, Allen writes, "were, during the 
Revolutionary period, really Committees of Deliberation on the State 
of the Country, and, therefore, the minutes cease for the period of the 
war" (Allen, p. 5), implying that the goal of the lodges was revolution. 

Further evidence is the fact that George Washington's laying of the 
cornerstone of the national capitol on September 18, 1793, and W. R. 
Davie's laying of the cornerstone of the first building of the University 
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on October 12, 1793, were "carried 
out basically according to the rites of the Masonic order, Washington 
being the country's leading Mason and Davie being the grand master in 
North Carolina" (Powell, p. 20). Davie was a colonel of militia in the 
Salisbury/Charlotte area in 1781, when Green Hill served as chaplain 
during that crucial year of the war. If Petersburg people attended the 
lodge meetings, they could have brought the news of revivalism even as 
they fanned the flame of revolution. 

The father was not a Methodist, but the three sons were. The father 
was not known to be a Mason, but the three sons were. The 
conjunction of revivalism and the revolutionary impulse is evident in 
the generational divergence. 

Three significant revivalists impinged upon Green Hill's home 
territory There was the revival in Virginia in the years 1772-1775 led 
by the Reverend Devereux Jarrett, a Church of England minister as 
were the Wesleys. In the period of Jarrett's phenomenal success in 
Virginia, Green Hill was just over thirty years of age. In the case of 
Jarrett, there is a good chance that Green Hill beheld the man himself 
and heard him preach, in view of the fact that Jarrett during these years 
visited North Carolina and preached in the counties of Northampton, 

The Green Hill House as Remodelled in the 1930's. From Emory S. Bucke, ed., History of 

American Methodism, Vol I. Nashville: Abinedon, 1964. 

Halifax, Warren and Franklin (Bute, at the time), and Granville 
(Sweet, p. 72). Also in 1772 the Methodist Robert Williams was 
assigned to service in Petersburg. Williams was an English "local 
preacher" who had come to the colony at the same time as Boardman 
and Pilmoor, with Wesley's consent but without the official 
appointment given the other two (Sweet, p. 58). 

Similarly, Hill eventually certainly heard John King. He could 
conceivably have been converted well past the age of thirty by John 
King (Charles Davis; Queen). King was appointed by the Conference 
of 1774 to the Norfolk Circuit. Green Hill's first wife, Nancy Thomas, 
having died in 1772, he married Mary Seawell, of the Brunswick 
County, Virginia, family, on June 3, 1773. John King married Sallie 
Seawell, a sister of Mary, on December 14, 1775, thus becoming the 
brother-in-law of Green Hill. It is reasonable to assume that King met 
Sallie Seawell while preaching on the Norfolk circuit. Further, it is 
probable that Hill and the Seawells — Mary, Sallie, and their brother 
Benjamin — of Bute County, North Carolina, were Methodists by 
1774. Asbury's reference in the journal in July 1780, "Rode home with 
Dr. King; his wife was in Society," probably means that John King met 
Sallie Seawell in a Methodist society in North Carolina, where her 
father and his family had lived since 1770 (Carroll, p. 33; Grissom, p. 

Such a conjunction of influences from the late 1760s into the late 
1770s must surely have been the determining factors in the life of the 
young Green Hill. There is no final evidence as to when he built his 
house; however, when Edward Hill Davis remodelled it in the early 
1930s, he put the year 1775 on one of the chimneys. Green Hill was 
twenty-two years of age when he married Nancy Thomas on October 
13, 1763. He was to become, over the next eleven years, the father of 
five children. Nancy Thomas Hill died on January 16, 1772. The father 
of five small children married Mary Seawell the following year and 
eventually added eight children to his household. 

The chief influences on the young Green Hill II, then, would 
appear to be, first, his father's moving to North Carolina in 1735, to 
some part of what was then Bertie County. Also an important influence 
was his connection to the Blandford-Bute Masonic Lodge, which could 
have begun as early as 1766, perhaps earlier if he knew some of the 
Petersburg members. Between 1772 and 1775 he could have heard the 
Reverend Devereux Jarrett preach in his own or a neighboring county 
of North Carolina. His marriage into the Seawell family in 1773 would 
have confirmed his interest in both Methodism and the Revolution. 
And then John King, appointed in 1774 to the Norfolk circuit and 
married into the Seawell family in 1775, "retired to the life of a local 

preacher and doctor" (Wilkerson, p. 10), buying land in Franklin 
County near Louisburg in 1781. 

Nevertheless, in spite of the religious and familial convergence of 
Hill and King, there appears to have been an important area of 
divergence in Hill's preoccupation with the cause of independence. 
King, on the other hand, was asked to affirm his alliegance (he was, 
after all, an Englishman and a minister of a sect that was originally part 
of the Church of England) in 1778 in Louisburg (Davis, p. 87). Green 
Hill had already begun an active civic life. 

Green Hill represented Bute County at the colonial assembly at 
New Bern on August 25, 1774; at the assembly at New Bern on April 
3, 1775; at the Second Provincial Congress in Hillsborough beginning 
August 21, 1775; and at the Halifax Congress, April 4, 1776 (Malone). 
Although even some Whig leaders denied before 1776 that they were 
seeking separation from England (Lefler, p. 216), Green Hill seems to 
have moved steadily in that direction. 

A stormy reaction, in the form of tea parties, to England's 
resumption of its effort to tax colonial trade led to the call for a 
continental congress. In North Carolina, Governor Josiah Martin 
refused to call a meeting of the Assembly in time to elect delegates to 
such a congress. The result was an assembly called by the speaker, in 
angry defiance of die governor, in New Bern on August 25, 1774, and 
the election of delegates. "The First Provincial Congress of North 
Carolina was a significant meeting. ... a practical demonstration of 
self-government, originating in the people. ... an example of 
intercolonial cooperation by the people's chosen deputies, in defiance 
of royal authority" (Lefler, p. 202). This was Green Hill's first colonial 

His second originated similarly It met in New Bern on April 3, 
1775, and again elected Hooper, Caswell, and Hewes delegates to the 
Second Continental Congress, that of 1775. Governor Martin 
dissolved the royal assembly on April 8 and by the end of May had fled 
the capital. The collapse of royal authority in North Carolina led to the 
third of Green Hill's assemblies, that at Hillsborough on August 20, 
1775, called to establish a provisional state government and to prepare 
for war. On November 15, 1775, he was a signatory of the protest by 
twenty Bute County citizens against the imposition by parliament of 
taxes on the colonies (Willard, p. 20). 

The fourth of his congresses was at Halifax on April 4, 1776, and it 
resulted in the "Halifax Resolves," to the effect that "the delegates for 
this Colony in the Continental Congress be impowered to concur with 
the delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency, and 
forming foreign alliances . . .," reserving the right to shape a 

constitution and laws for the colony and choose its delegates to future 
congresses (Lefler, p. 218). 

At the Hillsborough congress of August 1775, plans were laid for a 
militia as well as for a provisional government. Green Hill accepted at 
this congress a commission as second major to the Bute militia 
regiment (Malone) . Some of the regiments formed at this time were 
soon called into action. In Virginia, Governor Dunmore had seized 
Norfolk and built a fort on the road leading south from Norfolk. Three 
North Carolina regiments won a victory at Great Bridge on December 
14, 1775, and drove the British from Norfolk. One of them was that of 
Col. Nicholas Long of Halifax, whose son Gabriel was already known 
to Green Hill in Louisburg; the two families would later intermarry. In 
1775 some seven hundred North Carolinians helped in South Carolina 
in the defeat of the Scovellites in the Snow Campaign. Then the war 
came to North Carolina in the battle of Moore's Creek Bridge, 
February 27, 1776. This significant victory deflected the forces of 
invasion from North Carolina for about four years. 

In the meantime, Green Hill was elected representative from Bute 
to the first session of the state legislature held in New Bern in 1777. 
Inside Bute he was also active, holding the appointive office of justice 
of the court (magistrate). Upon the division of Bute into Franklin and 
Warren counties in 1779, he and his brother William were two of the 
four witnesses to the deed recording the purchase of the 100 acres of 
land for Louisburg, the county seat (Malone). He was also appointed 
by the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions as a "land processioner," or 
surveyor who established property lines, important in a time of original 
land grants and vast holdings (E. H. Davis, p. 75). He shared with 
three others, one of them his brother Henry, the function of 
processioning the land "down Tar River to the county line." 

In 1781 Green Hill moved into the arena of the war, enlisting as 
chaplain of the Tenth Regiment, Sharp's Company, seeing action in the 
area of Salisbury (Malone; Jesse Lee gives 1780 as the date). These 
were crucial days of the Revolution, when military encounters in the 
area in which Green Hill enlisted determined the surrender of 
Cornwallis at Yorktown on October 18, 1781. Buoyed by his success in 
subjugating South Carolina and Georgia, Cornwallis set his sights 
upon North Carolina and Virginia. Victorious at Camden, Cornwallis 
advanced to Charlotte; but the defeat of British forces at King's 
Mountain made him retreat into South Carolina again. Upon his 
return, General Nathanael Greene's strategic retreats before Cornwallis 
in the areas of Salisbury and Guilford Courthouse drew the British 
away from their base of supplies in South Carolina and won a tactical 
victory at Guilford Courthouse in spite of the fact that it was the 
colonial army that retreated. 


A descendant of Green Hill's wrote that in the course of one of 
these colonial retreats "Chaplain Green Hill aroused the troop with a 
vigorous sermon while they encamped briefly near Salisbury, North 
Carolina. His text was: 'Quench not the Spirit'" (Cox, p. 41). Jesse Lee 
was a reluctant militiaman on this scene. On Sunday, September 24, 
1780, "Mr. Green Hill preached in the camp; his text was 1 Thes. v. 19. 
'Quench not the Spirit.'" Lee reports the hardship and the confusion of 
this crucial period of the war. The next morning, September 25, the 
Americans left because the British were expected. At Charlotte there 
was an engagement and several Americans were killed. They marched 
eighteen miles that day, halted for three hours at night, but marched on 
before day, having eaten but not slept. The roads were thronged with 
refugees. They returned to Salisbury, expecting the enemy, and on 
September 28 crossed the Yadkin River. At this point General Butler 
took charge. Here the troops heard that "last Saturday" the Americans 
had won the battie of King's Mountain. Then, on October 18, 
"Colonel Washington" joined the troops. They then recrossed the 
Yadkin and arrived at a point "above Salisbury." Then there began the 
strategically successful retreat that would draw Cornwallis too far from 
his base of supplies and eventually bring about his retreat to 
Wilmington following Guilford Courthouse. However, 
anticlimactically, on Sunday, October 29, Lee was discharged from the 
army (he had refused to hold a rifle) and went home (Thrift, pp. 
32-35). There followed the British advance to Yorktown, the final battle 
in October 1781, and, while Greene cleared the British from inland 
South Carolina and Georgia, the surrender to the Americans. 

How much action Green Hill saw in this extremely and crucially 
active area of the war has not been recorded. Of great significance is the 
fact that he deliberately placed himself in the heat of the war at the very 
time when the outcome was most uncertain — when the tide of military 
events would seem to have been running in the direction of a British 
victory. This fact suggests a selfless concern for the cause he appears 
long to have believed in. 

It is worth noting, too, that Hill had been elected in 1777 to 
represent Bute County in the first session of the state legislature at New 
Bern (Malone). According to the rules laid down by the Provincial 
Congress at Hillsborough in November 1776, a member of the lower 
house of the legislature of North Carolina could not be an "active 
clergyman" (Powell, 187). The term must not have included "local 
preachers" of the Methodist persuasion not yet entered into "full 
connection." And, still in the legislature, in 1779 Hill introduced the 
first bill in North Carolina making provision for the indigent of the 
state (Queen). 


In the meantime, in 1780, before he enlisted for action as a chaplain 
near Salisbury, his home had already been the obvious choice of Francis 
As bury when he preached in Louisburg in 1780. 


Allen, John Edward. "Introductory and Genealogical Notes." In Thomas Neal 
Ivey, Green Hill. Privately printed by the editor. Oxford NC: Press of Oxford 
Orphanage, n.d. [1930s]. 

Carroll, Grady L. Francis Asbury in North Carolina. Nashville: Pantheon Press, 

Cox, James Reed. Pioneers and Perfecters of Our Faith: A Biography of the Reverend 
Green Hill . . . Commission on Archives and History, Tennessee Annual Conference, 
The United Methodist Church. Nashville: Pantheon Press, 1975. Cox quotes Walter 
Stokes, Jr., Private Monograph Delivered to the Williamson County TN Historical 
Society, 1972. 

Davis, Charles M. "The Reverend Major Green Hill: Planter, Preacher, Patriot 
and Pioneer." Unpublished paper read at Green Hill, 9 July 1969. 

Davis, E. H. Historical Sketches of Franklin County. Raleigh NC: Edwards and 
Broughton, 1948. Privately printed. 

Grissom, W. L. History of Methodism in North Carolina, from 1772 to the Present 
Time. Nashville TN: Methodist Episcopal Publishing House, 1905. 

Lefler, Hugh Talmadge, and Albert Ray Newsome. North Carolina: The History of 
a Southern State. 3d ed. Chapel Hill NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 

Malone, E. T., Jr. "Hill, Green, Jr." In William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North 
Carolina Biography , vol. 3. Chapel HillNC: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. 

Powell, William S. "Founding of the University of North Carolina," Carolina 
Alumni Review, Bicentennial Issue. Chapel Hill NC: Winter 1993, pp. 15-25. 

Queen, Louise L. "Major Green Hill." In Nolan B. Harmon, gen. ed., Encyclopedia 
of World Methodism. Nashville TN: United Methodist Publishing House, 1974. 

Sweet, William Warren. Methodism in America. Nashville TN: 
Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1933. 

Thrift, Minton. Memoir of 'the Reverend Jesse Lee.... New York: Bangs and Mason, 

Wilkerson [Perry], Louise. "Rev. John King, M.D." Unpublished typescript. 
Research paper in Library Science, East Carolina University, March 12, 1975. 19 pp. 

Willard, George-Anne, ed. Franklin County Sketchbook. Louisburg NC: Franklin 
County-Louisburg Bicentenary Committee, 1982. 


Green Hill after the Revolution Following the victory of 
Washington's forces at Yorktown, Green Hill led an active public life. 
He was elected a councilor of state in 1783. The Council of State was 
part of the executive branch of the state government, and its seven 
members were elected by joint ballot of the two houses of the 
legislature for a term of one year. Independent of the governor, the 
council had the function of advising the governor in the execution of 
his duties. Other members of the executive were the secretary of state, 
the treasurer, and the attorney general (Powell, p. 223). Green Hill was 
twice reelected to the office, holding it until 1786 (Malone). 

Also in 1783 he was elected treasurer for the District of Halifax, 
one of six military districts into which the state was divided. As a result 
of a report of a shortage of funds under his management, a legislative 
committee was assigned in 1789 to investigate. The committee 
discovered that Green Hill was due a reimbursement of 233 pounds, 13 
shillings, and sixpence. The assembly repaid him (Malone, Robbins). 

On the local Franklin County scene, he became in December 1785 
clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the county. He was 
named by the Court to a four-man committee to arrange for the 
construction of a bridge across the Tar River at Louisburg. This project 
having been promptiy completed, in 1786 he was also authorized to 
build a gristmill at Massie's Falls, perhaps a mile upstream from the 
present bridge across the Tar at Main Street. He set the mill in 
operation, and it still stood into the twentieth century (Davis, p. 79). 

The year 1780 was the time of the first visit of Francis Asbury to the 
home of Green Hill in Louisburg; this may have been the first meeting 
of the two. Arriving in Philadelphia in 1771, Asbury had travelled and 
preached almost annually in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, 
Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and what is now West Virginia (Carroll, 
p. 30). In 1773 Asbury became Wesley's assistant in the colonies, 
succeeding Boardman (Sweet, p. 68). Because of the status of the 
Methodist evangelists as clergymen of the Church of England, and 
because they were British citizens, they were suspect during the 
American revolution. All "official Wesley itinerants" left the colony 
during the American revolution (Carroll, p. 58). Wesley had, after all, 
published an appeal to reason on the subject of the status of the 
colonies, and it was known that he opposed the war for independence. 
Asbury alone was left, but he decided to remain in America during the 
hostilities, even though it meant he could not be active as a Methodist 
evangelist. During 1778 and 1779 he lived in semi-retirement at the 
home of Judge White in Delaware, and in 1780 he became a citizen of 
Delaware. The decision seems to have meant that he could resume his 
travels. His initial visit to North Carolina began in June, 1780 (Carroll, 
p. 275). 


In 1780, Asbury was thirty- five years of age. Green Hill was 
thirty-nine. Asbury had just become a citizen, whereas the Hills were 
native for perhaps as many as four generations. Green Hill had been 
active in the cause of the revolution for at least a decade. Green Hill was 
a major landowner and a slave-holder. Asbury was an itinerant. Green 
Hill had married his second wife in 1773 and was the father of perhaps 
eight children, the oldest of whom, Jordan, was probably sixteen years 
old by 1780. Asbury would never marry Nevertheless, when Asbury 
described his first encounter with Green Hill, his words were, "I was 
very finely entertained, and blessed with fellowship at Green Hill's" 
(Carroll, p. 39). Despite their differences, the movement gave them 
common ground passionately shared; "fellowship" probably implies 
the "old-fashioned Methodist welcome" Asbury had received on a 
larger scale at Philadelphia. 

Before he arrived at Green Hill's, Asbury had been ill and in pain, 
but recovered. He had met Gabriel Long, of Halifax and Franklin 
counties, and received his contribution to a projected Methodist 
school, which later became Cokesbury College in Maryland. He had 
preached, of course, many times, and on Friday, June 23, "rode home 
with Dr. [John] King" from Nutbush Creek Chapel in Warren County. 
On that same day he observed that he had "had too mean an opinion of 
Carolina; it is a much better country, and the people live much better 
than I expected from the information given me" (Carroll, pp. 33-35), 
which had probably resembled the report of William Byrd dating from 
1728. Nevertheless, the North Carolina people were all too often 
"hard," "insensible," "unresponsive to the word." Even after the 
fellowship at Green Hill's, he wrote that he had "never met with so 
many difficulties as I have met with in this circuit" (p. 40), some of 
them stemming no doubt from his health and from the difficulties 
offered by the physical environment. 

On Sunday, July 9, 1780, he preached at Green Hill's "to about 
four hundred souls, on 1 Thess. ii, 4. The subject was new, the people 
dead. I had not much liberty." Then James O'Kelly spoke, quite well, 
but "to litde purpose. There are evils here; the meeting not solemn; the 
women appeared to be full of dress, the men full of news. These people 
are Gospel slighters. I fear some heavy stroke will come on them." The 
distress of the two preachers was extreme; O'Kelly rose at midnight and 
"prayed devoutly for me and himself." Asbury felt, on this Sunday at 
Green Hill's, that "no preaching or preacher will do much good at 
present. I was condemned for telling humorous anecdotes, and knew 
not whether it was guilt or fear, lest my friends should think I go 
beyond the bounds of prudent liberty. It is dreadful, when a preacher is 
put to it to vindicate himself" (Carroll, p. 41). 


His distress is apparent in this statement, but its source is unclear. 
Nevertheless, one wonders whether Green Hill was aware of this crisis 
of soul taking place under his roof (if indeed he was at home at the 
time). He does not seem to have participated in it. It is interesting to 
compare Jesse Lee's journal entry for July 17, 1780, a few days after 
Asbury's stop. "I left home [in Halifax County] and set out for the 
army, and travelled about 25 miles to Mr. Green Hill's, where I was 
kindly used — I tarried there all night." Then, on Wednesday, the 19th 
of July, "I set off early in the morning and travelled about 16 miles to 
Mr. Hines'. In the afternoon we had much conversation on spiritual 
matters, and in the evening, felt my heart more engaged with God in 
prayer than usual" (Thrift, p. 26). Again Green Hill had a distressed 
Methodist guest who left no evidence that the host sympathized with 
or participated in his disturbance. Jesse Lee was, by his own 
description, a reluctant draftee into the militia; when he arrived at 
Salisbury and joined the army, he refused to accept a rifle handed to 
him, making it clear that he would not kill. He was placed under guard, 
preached to the troops, agreed to drive a wagon (though he said he had 
had no experience at driving a wagon), heard Green Hill preach (24 
September 1780), and was discharged (Thrift, pp. 32-35). Green Hill, 
quite the opposite, a leading revolutionary, had become a major of 
militia for Bute County 

Green Hill was older and more firmly established than any of his 
several soul-searching guests. Further, we have no record of his 
thoughts, as we have for Lee and O'Kelly Considering the number of 
his guests, participation in — even exploration of — their states of 
mind, at least in these examples, would have been a large-scale drain on 
his energy Necessarily, however, the presence of four hundred people 
on July 9, some of whom had probably traveled miles to hear Asbury 
and O'Kelly, must have been an encouraging sight to the host, even if 
the preachers felt the audience was inattentive. Hill's and Asbury's 
views of the event may have diverged as widely as did their worldly 

Asbury's distress is somewhat abated on the next day at the home of 
Roger Jones near Kittrell. Although the heat continued to be relendess, 
the crowd was more responsive. "About sixty people; God was with us; 
the people spoke of the goodness of the Lord." As a result of this 
meeting, the people of the environs of Jones's formed a Methodist 
society and built Plank Chapel (Carroll, p. 41), the well-known and still 
extant church south of Henderson on County Road 1557 in the 
Bobbitt community. Then on Wednesday, July 12, at "Cooper's upon 
Tar River," "These people have heard Baptists and Presbyterians, but I 
fear to litde purpose." And on Thursday the 13th, after another 
dispiriting experience, "I am distressed with the troubles of the times; 


and hear there are great commotions" (p. 42). Asbury himself realizes 
that the war is part of the distraction of his audiences from his sermons: 
the British were active in South Carolina and Georgia, and within a 
year would be fighting further west in North Carolina. He gave the war 
little attention in his journal until in 1783 he visited Hillsboro, 
observed the ruins of a once "elegant" church, and exclaimed that "to 
the fightings without were added all the horrors of a civil war within" 
(p. 56). 

It is quite likely that diverging points of view regarding the 
revolution widely separated Asbury and Hill during these years; the 
one had worked to bring about a war for independence and saw a 
purpose being served by the disruptions it caused. Asbury must have 
associated himself closely with Wesley's point of view; he could only 
lament the resulting distress. In 1783, having heard the news of a 
provisional treaty, he observed that peace "may cause great changes to 
take place amongst us; some for the better and some for the worse. It 
may make against the work of God: our preachers will be far more 
likely to settle in the world; and our people, by getting into trade, and 
acquiring wealth, may drink into its spirit" (p. 57). 

In fact, on Wednesday, May 26, 1783, about two weeks before he 
heard the news and speculated upon the effect of peace, he noted that "I 
spoke at Green Hill's, to a proud and prayerless people, many of whom 
were backsliders" (p. 57). Methodism had appealed in England to a 
people fixed in the rigidity of the English class structure. Without social 
or economic opportunity, they found an outlet for thwarted talents by 
becoming leaders at the various levels of the structure of the Methodist 
societies. Further, the Wesleyan message of the importance of the 
experience of the individual soul amplified their sense of their potential. 
In the new country, however, by "getting into trade and acquiring 
wealth," the people who had made up the Methodist audience might 
become too worldly to think about salvation. And the preachers could 
settle on the abundant land, as John King recently had. Asbury stated 
his belief on this subject when he wrote in New York on June 19, 1789: 
"To begin at the right end of the work is to go first to the poor, these 
will, the rich may possibly, hear the truth" (Bilhartz, p. 46). That the 
rich and comfortable had needs was evident to him; that they could be 
made aware of them was doubtful. If Green Hill and Francis Asbury 
discussed such subjects, Asbury never indicates in the journal that they 

As Wesley's only representative in the new world during the 
revolution, Asbury was named his assistant for the colonies in 1773 
(Sweet, p. 68). At the Christmas Conference in Baltimore on 
December 26, 1784, he was elected bishop. The first conference of the 
church formed at the Christmas Conference was appointed for Green 


Hill's in April 1785. As often happened, Asbury's account of the 
conference and its discussions tells us little. "Tuesday, 19. Preached at 
the Cypress chapel, and had many people to hear. I met Doctor Coke at 
Green Hill's that evening: here we held our conferences in great peace." 

Historians have difficulty getting "a satisfactory view of this 
Conference." Green Hill, a "large slaveholder, a wealthy planter, and a 
local Methodist preacher" entertained the "entire body" (George 
Smith, p. 91). He was able to do so because the large top story of his 
house, now three rooms and a vestibule, was then an unpartitioned 
space. New work was laid out. Asbury assigned preachers to 
setdements on the Holston and Yadkin rivers to the west, to the 
counties of Halifax, Rowan, Caswell, and Guilford, and to setdements 
on the New, Tar, and Roanoke rivers (George Smith, p. 92). Asbury 
designated Richard Ivey, Reuben Ellis, and Henry Willis "president 
elders," the first mention, according to Smith, of presiding elders. The 
structure was the bishop first, then the elder, the preacher in charge, the 
junior preacher, the local preacher, and then the class leader. Carroll 
writes that the conference represented the Carolinas and Virginia, 
thirty one circuits, and 9,063 members (p. 70). Grissom adds to the list 
of names of those present John King, Beverly Allen, Jesse Lee, and 
Philip Bruce (p. 123). 

Dr. Thomas Coke, Wesley's other general assistant and 
superintendent for America, described the conference in his journal: 
"Tuesday 19. We came to brother Green Hill's, where we held our 
conference. There were about twenty preachers or more in one house, 
and by making or laying beds on the floors, there was room for all. We 
spent three days (from Wednesday to Friday inclusive) in conference, 
and a comfortable time we had together. In this division we have had 
991 increase this year; and have stretched our borders into Georgia. 
Beverley Allen has met with great encouragement in his visit to 
Charles town: a merchant (Mr. Wells) opened his house to him, and was 
convinced and justified before he went away. We have now 110 
members in that state, by the assiduity of a local preacher who lately 
settled there" (Arminian Magazine ', I, 345). 

Dubose writes that the "entire membership of the Conference, 
including the two General Superintendents and about twenty 
preachers from North Carolina and Virginia" were present, and Asbury 
made appointments to Camden, Georgetown, Charleston, and 
Georgia as well as to the circuits of North Carolina (Du Bose, p. 134). 

Dr. Coke arrived at Green Hill's fresh from the venture of exhorting 
the members of the Methodist societies to emancipate their slaves 
(Vickers, p. 95). Having previously sought to exclude slave-owners 
from membership, at the Christmas Conference of 1784 he sought a 
rule demanding excommunication for slave-holders. Threatened by a 


mob in Virginia a mere matter of days before he arrived at the 
conference in North Carolina, he raised the subject at the conference in 
Louisburg. The result was a clash between Coke and Jesse Lee. Lee 
had, before accepting a circuit, managed the plantation in Halifax 
County of Gabriel Long, now also a landowner of Franklin County, 
where the conference was held. According to D. G. Mathews, "Calm, 
intelligent Jesse Lee, the anti-slavery son of a slave-holder, maintained 
that the new rule [excommunicating slave-owners] had been ill-timed 
and ill-advised, since it had excited 'strong prejudices' against the 
preachers" (Vickers, p. 96). The "breach was healed," we are told, 
when Dr. Coke understood that Lee was not pro-slavery but objected 
to an anti-slavery policy as imprudent (Grissom, p. 121). Even so, 
Coke wrote concerning the conference that the twenty preachers or 
more in one house had a "comfortable time" together (Grissom, p. 

At the time of this conference, the Methodist church had 18,000 
members, 104 itinerant preachers, and several hundred local preachers 
and exhorters (Herbert Asbury, p. 184). It owned or was making use of 
more than sixty chapels in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. There were 
active societies from Georgia to Ashgrove, New York, "where Philip 
Embury had planted an isolated group of Wesleyans on his removal 
there from New York City." Freeborn Garrettson and William Black 
were active in Nova Scotia, and in 1787 Asbury sent Garrettson to 
upper New York state, where he soon converted six hundred 
Methodists and formed societies throughout the Hudson Valley. "On 
Long Island there was a veritable network of Methodist organizations, 
and there were many in Staten Island and in New Jersey and 
Pennsylvania." In Maryland and Delaware, "Methodism was the 
dominant religious faith" (Herbert Asbury, p. 185). 

At the end of May 1788 Asbury again stopped at Green Hill's, 
riding "to Pope's, to Green Hill's, to Long's and to Jones's Chapel" 
(Carroll, p. 90). He was then pleased with the response of the people of 
North Carolina: there were "a thousand souls at preaching"; "a 
hundred blacks joined in society; and they appear to have real religion 
among them." At "Clark's," there were sixty members; "I feel life 
among these people." He also preached at "Moore's in Northampton 
— once a poor, dead people, but now revived, and increased from 
eleven to sixty members" (Carroll, p. 90). 

The second conference at Green Hills occurred in January 1792. 
On Thursday, January 19, Asbury wrote, "I rode with no small 
difficulty to Green Hill's, about two hundred miles, the roads being 
covered with snow and ice. Our conference began and ended in great 
peace and harmony: we had thirty-one preachers stationed at the 


different houses in the neighborhood" (Carroll, p. 113). Although the 
travel had been difficult, and he had had few hearers, "much weakness 
of body, and uncomfortable weather," he felt "we have had a good 
work in the eastern district of North Carolina in the past year" (Carroll, 
p. 113). If the former colonists were to become too preoccupied with 
business and wealth, the process has not yet begun. On January 21, 
1792, Asbury ordained Green Hill a deacon (Malone). 

The third conference at Green Hill's took place also in 1792. 
Asbury described it on Tuesday, December 11: "Rode to Green Hill's, 
near Louisburg. Here I met the preachers in conference, and we were 
closely employed until Saturday morning. We had about forty 
preachers from the two districts in North Carolina" (Carroll, p. 117). 
He then had a difficult ride and a stream to ford in very cold weather 
going to Haw River. He quaindy remarks, "I know not why ... I 
cannot feel that I hold such sweet communion with God in cold 
weather as in warm ..." (Carroll, p. 118). Nevertheless, he was gready 
heartened by the accomplishment of the recent conference and the 
prospects for the coming year: "The great love and union which 
prevailed at the late conference makes me hope many souls will be 
converted in the ensuing year: an account was brought in of the 
conversion of about three hundred souls last week within its limits — 
chiefly in the Lowland circuits. Glory be to God! I feel that he is with 
us. . . ." There is, in fact, encouraging news concerning the country at 
large: ". . .1 have good evidence that fifteen or eighteen hundred souls 
have professed to have been converted in the United States within the 
last twelve months" (Carroll, p. 118). 

A year later, in December 1793, a fourth conference was held at 
Green Hill's, the last in North Carolina in the eighteenth century. 
Asbury wrote that on Tuesday, December 10, he "came to Louisburg, 
and held our conference at Green Hills, about a mile from town. Great 
peace and unity prevailed amongst us. The preachers cheerfully signed 
an instrument, expressing their determination to submit to, and abide 
by, what the General Conference has done" (Carroll, p. 124). (The 
General Conference during the year 1793-1794 recommended a day of 
fasting and a day of thanksgiving in 1795 and further recommended 
that preachers be changed every six months if convenient [Minutes, p. 

In his earlier years, Hill had been moved by the impulse toward 
independence and that of the Wesleyan church reform. In the 1790s the 
westward movement seems to have become dominant, perhaps 
specifically the movement of Methodism to the west. In 1796 he made 
a trip to the most westerly part of North Carolina, now Tennessee, 
"preaching along the way" (Malone). Perhaps at a lower level in the 
Methodist hierarchy he responded to the example of Asbury, the 


"Liberty Hill," Green Hill's house built in the 1790's twelve miles south of Nashville, 
Tennessee. Site of the Western Conference of 1808. From The Missionary Voice, XVIII: 2 
(Feb, 1928) Nashville TN: Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal church, South. 

"prophet of the long road." For Hill, however, the move involved 
settling with his family on newly acquired land. Henry Boehm wrote, 
"He and his family emigrated to Tennessee when all was a wilderness, 
and they had to make their way through a cane-brake to the place 
where their house was located. Liberty Hill was twelve miles west of 
Nashville, and Nashville was then a very small village" (Norwood, p. 
187). (Runways of the Nashville airport now cover the site.) "Liberty 
Hill" was similar to but built on a smaller scale than "Liberty Hall" in 
Louisburg. His older children did not all accompany him: Green Hill 
III was clerk of the court in Louisburg in the early 1800s, and Jordan 
remained a resident of Louisburg. Hill was fifty-eight years of age 
when he made this move, which testified to his good health and 
continued vigor. 

Here, too, Asbury found him. On Sunday, October 19, 1800, he 
wrote, "I had a feeling sight of my dear old friend Green Hill and his 
wife. Who would have thought we should ever meet in this distant 
land? I had not time, as formerly, to go to their house to eat and sleep" 
(Clark, pp. 256-257). For Asbury, this is an exceptionally warm and 
personal statement. The passage testifies to the overcoming of all the 
difficulties of the North Carolina circuits in 1780 and victory over any 
possible crises of soul under Green Hill's roof in 1780 or at the first 
conference in 1785. 

Hill's house, near Brentwood in Williamson County, became, as in 
North Carolina, a notable Methodist center (Clark, p. 257). There in 
1808 Bishop William McKendree held the western conference of the 
Methodist church, his first conference, including the states of 
Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Ohio, Indiana, 


Illinois, and all the territory west of the Mississippi River (Malone). 
Bishop Paine wrote of this conference, "The conference at Liberty Hill 
was held at a camp meeting, the preachers lodging on the encampment 
while the Bishops, in view of Bishop Asbury's feeble health, stayed at 
the residence of Colonel Green Hill. This gentleman was an old 
acquaintance of theirs, an estimable local minister, a revolutionary 
officer, and a simple-hearted and devoted Christian" (Paine, pp., 
210-211). Paine described the camp-meeting conference in terms that 
would have appealed to the taste of that earlier Asbury who during the 
Revolution proclaimed the benefits of adversity and the anticipated 
curse of prosperity. The preachers came from great distances — 
Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky — and were "fatigued 
with travel, enfeebled by affliction, exposure and labor; bare of 
clothing; . . . almost penniless . . . itinerant, houseless wanderers. ..." 
But they gave evidence of "growing spiritual prosperity" (Ivey, p. 21). 
Hill was ordained an elder by Bishop McKendree on October 4, 1813 

In September 1808 Asbury wrote, "We put in at Green Hill's, 
Williamson County." On this visit he wrote of Nashville, "This town 
has gready improved in eight years. There are several valuable houses 
built, an elegant court house, and a college" (Clark, p. 579). In view of 
his immediate post- revolutionary concerns about the conflict of wealth 
and spirituality, it is unexpected that he took satisfaction in evidence of 
prosperity However, the Methodist movement was thriving; perhaps 
the settlement of the west itself created the need that the church filled; 
poverty and lack of opportunity were not necessary to its success. 

On Saturday, October 1, he opened the conference. "The families 
of the Hills, Sewalls, and Cannon, were gready and affectionately 
attentive to us" (Clark, p. 580). Sewalls and Cannons were all relatives 
of Green Hill, Benjamin Sewall being his brother-in-law, who 
immigrated to Tennessee before him. One of his daughters had married 
into the Cannon family 

Asbury in 1800 was fifty-five years old. He would die in 1816 at 
age seventy-one. Green Hill in 1800 was fifty nine. He outlived Asbury 
by ten years, living to the age of eighty- five. 

Two characterizations of Green Hill by writers who knew him have 
come down. Bishop Robert Paine wrote, "The writer knew him well, 
spent the first night of his itinerant life at this house in 1817, and can 
never forget the Godly counsel and fatherly treatment he received from 
this venerable man during the first year of his ministry. He lived to 
bring up a large and highly reputable family; several of his descendants, 
including a son and one or two grandsons, became useful preachers, 
and almost the whole large circle of his posterity have realized the truth 
of God's word, which promises the divine blessing to the 'children's 


children' of pious parents." Paine relates the story of Green Hill's 
fleeing to the woods from his Louisburg home in 1781 with the 
documents and funds of the treasury in expectation of a raid by the 
enemy. "... And as his early life had been distinguished by integrity, 
patriotism and piety, so his old age was venerable and useful. There is a 
moral beauty and sublimity in the gradual decline of a truly good and 
noble old man, who, passing away full of years, ripe in wisdom, and 
rich in grace, descends serenely and triumphantly into the grave, amidst 
the regrets and veneration of society. Such was the life and such the 
death of Green Hill. The writer and Mr. Hill's old friend, the Rev. 
Turner Saunders, preached his funeral-sermon on the spot where the 
Western Conference of 1808 was held" (Paine, p. 211). 

Another characterization, by the Rev. G. W Sneed, dates from 
August 1849: "His talents as a minister of the Gospel, as I remember, 
were of a solid and useful character — not so much of a philosophical or 
metaphysical cast, but of a plain, experimental and practical kind 
addressing themselves to the understanding and feelings of all classes, 
enforcing moral obligation and duty with power upon the conscience. 
He understood and highly prized our doctrines and usages, and was 
sufficientiy versed in polemical divinity to successfully combat the 
errors of infidelity and deism, and completely to refute false doctrine" 

The children of Green Hill's first marriage were Jordan, a North 
Carolina state legislator and sheriff of Franklin County, NC; Hannah, 
who married Thomas Stokes of Chatham County, NC; Nancy, who 
married Thomas Knibb Wynn of Franklin County, NC; Martha, who 
married Jesse Brown of North Carolina; Richard, who died in infancy. 
Children of his second marriage were Green Hill III, clerk of court for 
Franklin County, trustee of Franklin Academy when it was chartered by 
the legislature in 1802, and "trustee board clerk" for the academy upon 
its opening in 1805, who married Mary Long, daughter of Colonel 
Gabriel and Sarah Richmond Long ("Grandma Shine"); Lucy, who 
married the Reverend Joshua Cannon of Tennessee; John; Thomas; 
Sally Hicks; Mary Seawell, who married Adam de Graffenried of 
Tennessee; William; and Joshua C, who married Lemiza Lanier of 
Beaufort County, North Carolina (Malone). 

Knowledge of Green Hill as it persisted in his North Carolina 
hometown was presented by Matthew S. Davis in the Franklin Times in 
1902. Davis's wife was a great-granddaughter of Green Hill's brother 
William. Green Hill was as honored and respected as John King, he 
wrote, and "though not blessed with the same educational advantages 
in early life, was his equal in all good works and gready his superior in 
eloquence and polished manners. Hill was said to be a soldier in war, a 
statesman in peace and a preacher of the gospel all the time. While it is 


true that the Colonial Congress, at Halifax, April 4th, 1776, appointed 
a number of field officers, among them Green Hill, Major for the 
county of Bute, yet there is litde evidence to show that he was ever 
actively connected with the army, except in the capacity of chaplain." 

Hill was blessed 
materially, Davis 

wrote, as well as 
paternally. "He 

possessed great wealth 
and a historian says he 
owned almost as many 
slaves as Abraham. He 
might have gone a little 
farther and added 'and 
had almost as many 
descendants.' He was 
twice married and was 
the father of fourteen 
children. His oldest 
son, Jordan, had 
sixteen and each of the 
others almost as many. 
I have in my possession 
a list of the names of 
his children, grand 
children, and great 
grand children 

numbering almost 
three hundred. For this 
list of names I am 
indebted to Mr. Henry 
Shelby White, of 
McLendon, Texas, who 
is believed to be the 
oldest living 

descendant of Green 
Hill." These 

descendants "are 

scattered through the Southern States from Georgia to Texas. Among 
those living in North Carolina are Miss Mary W Brown, the efficient 
music teacher in the Louisburg Female College, and the Hon. Robert 
M. Furman, editor of the Raleigh Post." 

Henry S. White supplied Matthew Davis with the following 
anecdote: "While Hill was serving as Treasurer [for the Halifax 

Green Hill's gravestone, near Nashville, Tennessee. 

"Born in the old County/... [?] N. C, Nov. 3, 1741 / 

Died Sept. 11th 1826 / Was a major in the/ Colonial 

army and a / member of the first, second / and third 

successive sessions / of the Provincial Congress of/ 

North Carolina." The last line of the inscription is an 

illegible bible verse. From The Missionary Voice, XVIII: 

2 (Feb. 1928), Nashville TN: Publishing House of the 

Methodist Episcopal 

Church, South. 


District] there was a rumor that the Tories were preparing to make a 
raid on his premises. Fearing that there might be truth in this rumor, 
Hill took the books, papers and money in his hands and fled to the 
swamps where he remained several days in concealment, a faithful 
servant taking his meals to him daily." Upon this anecdote the light of 
history can be obliquely thrown: Benjamin Seawell, Hill's 
brother-in-law, wrote on 13 May 1781 that "Our situation at present is 
not very comfortable. Not a man of any rank or distinction or scarcely 
any man of property has lain in his house since the British passed 
through Nash County" (Claiborne Smith). The proximity of the 
British army on its way to Yorktown might have inspired local Tories 
to depredations, demonstrating the merely relative truth of the saying, 
which Davis quotes, "There are no Tories in Bute." 

Davis quotes Jesse Lee's story that "on September 24th, 1780, Hill 
preached to the army then encamped near Salisbury from the text 
'Quench not the spirit,' and many of the soldiers were melted to tears." 
They were, Davis wrote, defeated and in full retreat before the British at 
the time of the sermon. 


In this list, works referred to in the preceding sections of this chapter are not 

Arminian Magazine, Vol. I, 1789, 345-346. 

Asbury, Herbert. A Methodist Saint: The Life of Bishop Asbury. New York: Alfred A. 
Knopf, 1927. 

Bilhartz, Terry D., ed. and comp. Francis Asbury *s America: An Album of Early 
American Methodism. Grand Rapids MI: Francis Asbury Press, 1984. 

Clark, Elmer T., ed. The Journals and Letters of 'Francis Asbury , II. Nashville TN: 
Abingdon Press, 1958. 

Davis, Matthew S. "Important History of Persons and Matters Connected with 
the Louisburg Female College in the Long Ago," The Franklin Times, Louisburg NC, 
Friday, February 21, 1902. 

Du Bose, Horace M. Francis Asbury: A Biographical Study. Nashville: Methodist 
Episcopal Church, South, 1916. 

Ivey, Thomas Neal, Green Hill. Edited with Genealogical Notes by J. Edward 
Allen. Oxford NC: Press of Oxford Orphanage, n.d. Privately printed. 

Minutes of the Methodist Conferences Annually Held in America from 1773 to 1813. . . 
. New York: Hitt and Ware, 1813. 

Norwood, Frederick A., ed. Sourcebook of American Methodism. Nashville: 
Abingdon, 1982. 


Paine, Robert. Life and Times of William McKendree. Nashville: Publishing House 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 1870. 

Robbins, Cecil W. "Green Hill: Preacher and Patriot." In George-Ann Willard, 
ed., Franklin County Sketchbook . Louisburg: Bicentenary Committee, 1982, pp. 72-73. 

Smith, Claiborne T., Jr. "Seawell, Benjamin." In Dictionary of North Carolina 
Biography. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994. 

Smith, George G. Life and Labors of Francis Asbury, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in America. Nashville TN: Methodist Publishing House, 1896. 

Vickers, John. Thomas Coke, Apostle of Methodism. Nashville TN: Abingdon, 1969. 
Quoting D. G. Mathews, Slavery and Methodism^ 1965, pp. 10 ff. 

Hill Genealogy. There is little agreement among biographers of 
Green Hill as to his antecedents, their dates, and their places of origin. 
There is a certain consensus as to their names. By one account, the 
linear sequence is Abraham/Robert/Green I/Green II (Painter). By 
another, the sequence is Robert/Sion/Richard/ Green 1/ Green II 
(Allen). Again, a study of Green Hill's life and career lists 
Robert/Richard/Green I/Green II (Cox). Conflict as to dates is as 
characteristic of these accounts as disagreement regarding the line of 
descent. And there is ignorance and uncertainty also as to the British 
antecedents. Comparison of the conflicting views reveals only a 
probable genealogy. 

Painter chooses as the English antecedent Abraham Hill, "Lord 
Wade," born in Kent County, England, in 1662. Although Burke's 
Peerage and DeBrett's account of the English peerage list no Lord 
Wade, there was an Abraham Hill whose biography is included in the 
Dictionary of National Biography and who could be claimed with 
satisfaction by a researcher seeking a distinguished ancestor. Abraham 
Hill was an appointee to the Colonial Board of Trade as one of his 
majesty's "Lords of Trade." The half dozen or so Lords of Trade 
reported to the King the conditions for trade in the colonies, 
complaining, for example, that the attorneys general did not know 
English law, that piracy was rampant, that the laws of trade were not 
being enforced, etc. North Carolina Colonial Records contain such 
communications, signed by Abraham Hill and others, beginning in 
1696 (I, 463, 475, 525, 535, 538, 539). But according to the DNB, 
Abraham Hill resigned his position on the board of trade in the reign of 
Queen Anne and died in 1721. The descendants of Abraham Hill, 
according to Painter, were Robert, who died in 1765 in Halifax 
County, North Carolina, and Robert's son Green I, born in 1714. 

On the other hand, Stuart Hill's genealogy shows two Abrahams 
among the descendants of a Henry Hill described as of Scotch-Irish 


descent (and, indeed, kin to the Marquess of Downshire and the Earl of 
Hillsboro, whose ancestor Sir Moses Hill, according to Burke's 
Peerage, won his tide in Ireland by service to the king). However, even 
if this line stemmed from Abraham Hill the Lord of Trade, there is no 
apparent evidence that it produced Green Hill I. According to the 
DNB, Abraham Hill (1635-1721) was the son of a merchant Richard 
Hill and the father of a son Richard Hill (1660-1721). Although 
Abraham "came of an old family seated at Shilstone in Devonshire," he 
bought in 1665 an estate in Kent, St. John's in Sutton-at-Hone, where 
he was buried in the Sutton Church. There is no record of his or his 
son's having immigrated. 

Stuart Hill's ten-volume genealogy supports a Robert Hill, a 1620 
immigrant to Virginia, as the ancestor of the Virginia Hills. Stuart Hill 
describes them as "very celebrated" (Vol. I, p. 2) and as intermarried in 
the third generation with "equally distinguished" families, among them 
the Carters, and in the second with the Bennetts. Because of the 
presence of the name Bennett, this line seems to offer promise as the 
line of Green Hill I, whose wife was Grace Bennett. But even if it is a 
collateral line, the fact that it bears in North Carolina a Whitmel Hill, 
descendant of Robert's son Nicholas, suggests that it diverges from the 
Green Hill line, which is not connected by any evidence with the 
Whitmel Hills. 

Ben Lee Seawell's genealogy of the Seawell family shows the Hill 
line as beginning with Robert Hill and his wife Mary, "immigrants to 
Virginia from Isle of Wight, 1642" (p. 59). Their son Sion Hill married 
Elizabeth Spiltimber, and Green Hill I was their son. 

Allen's genealogy is most detailed in its evidence supporting this 
particular line. Schematically it consists of 

Robert/Sion/Robert/Richard/Green I. The original Robert is recorded 
in abstracts of Virginia land patents as having immigrated under the 
aegis of Francis England, who acquired "746 acs Isle of Wight Co., 
June 20, 1642, p. 847." He was responsible for the transportation of 
fifteen persons, namely, "Robert Hill, Mary his wife, John Powell, Eliza 
Webb, Sarah England . . .," etc. (Nugent, I, p. 140). 

Numerous legal transactions in Isle of Wight and Surry counties, 
Virginia, reveal that Sion was the son of Robert, that his dates were 
1654-1705, that in 1679 he administered the estate of John Spiltimber, 
and that in 1677 he married "Mrs. John Spiltimber, nee Elizabeth 
(Green?)." The possibility that the widow's family name was Green has 
taken on great weight. 

Nevertheless, the name was not given to one of their sons; rather it 
was the given name of a grandson. Among the five children of Sion Hill 
was Richard (1684-1723), who lived in Surry County, Virginia. 
Several land deals in his name are on record. He married Hannah 


Briggs in about 1713, the daughter of Henry Briggs and Elizabeth 
Lucas. They had four children, the oldest of whom was Green Hill 
(1714-1769), who married Grace Bennett (1726-1772), of whose 
Bennett ancestors there is much to be said, and of whose grandfather, a 
Van Courtland related to the Van Rennselaers, even more has been 
said (Allen). According to E. T. Malone, Green Hill IFs "maternal 
grandfather, William Bennett, resident of Northampton County, was 
captain of the Roanoke Company of 101 Men, Northampton 
Regiment, colonial militia, in 1748." 

Allen feels that the given names are evidence of the line of descent 
from Sion and Richard: Green Hill I named his oldest son Henry after 
Henry Briggs, father-in-law of Richard; Green Hill II named a 
daughter Hannah after Hannah Briggs, wife of Richard and mother of 
Green I. 

Green Hill I, Allen continues, inherited 300 acres of land. When he 
came of age, he sold this land and moved in 1735 to Bertie County, 
later a part of Northampton County, North Carolina. He appears to 
have moved or expanded into Bute County, as his second child, his son 
Green II, was born there on 14 November 1741. But tradition has it 
that it was Green Hill II who built the house known to us, as to Francis 
Asbury, as Green Hill. 


Allen, John Edward. "Hill Family." Mimeographed genealogical data researched 
1960-1980. Warrenton NC. 

Cox, James Reed. Pioneers and Perfecters of Our Faith: A Biography of the Reverend 
Green Hill. . . . Nashville: The Parthenon Press, 1975. Commissioned and published as 
a project of the Commission on Archives and History, Tennessee Annual Conference, 
The United Methodist Church. 

Hill, Stuart. The Hill Family. Xerox of typescript, 10 vols. New York: 1926. North 
Carolina Collection of the Wilson Library, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Malone, E. T., Jr. "Hill, Green, Jr.," in William S. Powell, z&., Dictionary of North 
Carolina Biography , vol. 3. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. 

Nugent, Nell Marion. Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and 
Grants, 1623-1666. Abstracted and indexed by Nell M. Nugent. Baltimore: 
Genealogical Publishing Company, 1979. 

Painter, Pennell Churchman. Genealogical Chart of the Family of Green Hill II. 
Copy owned by Mabel Irwin Davis of Warrenton NC. (Painter, like Mabel Davis, was 
a descendant of Green Hill IPs brother William.) 


Seawell, Ben Lee. The Genealogy, with Historical and Personal Comments, of the 
Known Descendants of Col. Benjamin Seawell, Sr., and Lucy Hicks. Compiled and 
Arranged by a Great-grandson. South Pasadena CA, 1935. Copyrighted by the author. 

John King 

John King, significant among leaders of American Methodism in 
the 1770s and 1780s, maintained his home in Bute County over about 
a decade and a half, in some of these years under Conference 
appointment. He is further distinguished in that he comes down to us 
with both a character and a personality. His character resembled that of 
his associates; he was the enthusiastic convert, the impassioned saver of 
souls bent upon spreading the message of Methodism. His personality 
comes to us from Wesley himself, from Asbury, and from Pilmore, as 
well as from local and family tradition. Apparendy he was headstrong, 
self-willed, and, strident, dimensions of his character surprising in their 
persistence from the 18th to the 20th centuries. King, too, like Asbury, 
had his "long road," in King's case from Leicestershire, England, to 
North Carolina, byway of Philadelphia and the intervening east coast, 
as well as from the fixed class structure of 18th-century England to 
revolutionary America, about to achieve the privilege of going its own 

The generally accepted facts about John King are presented in 
Malone's account of Green Hill: Dr. John King was an English 
"scholar, preacher, and physician, who had come to America to 
establish Wesley an societies." He preached the first Methodist sermon 
in Baltimore, and he was Green Hill's brother-in-law. He located in 
Louisburg, North Carolina, in 1780 (Malone). According to the 
Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, he was born in Leicestershire, 
England, in 1746, was a graduate of Oxford University, and obtained a 
medical degree from a London college. He was converted when he 
heard John Wesley preach, and because of this was disinherited by his 
family. He arrived in Philadelphia in 1770 without evidence of 
authorization by Wesley; Joseph Pilmore licensed him only after a 
probationary sermon. He worked in Maryland and New Jersey with 
Robert Strawbridge, Robert Williams, and John Dickins, and then in 
Virginia and North Carolina. Wesley wrote him a letter criticizing his 
preaching style. In 1778 he setded in North Carolina and practiced 
medicine until his death, which occurred in New Bern NC in 1794. 

Verification of his birth place, his parentage (by some accounts he 
was a son of the Bishop of Oxford, by others his father was the Bishop 
of London), even his Oxford degree is probably impossible. Alumni 
Oxonienses does not list him in the 1760's, when he would have 


John King Preaching in Baltimore in 1770 (on a block in front of a blacksmith shop at Front 

and Center streets). From Elmer T. Clark, An Album of Methodist History . Nashville: 

Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1952. 

attended Oxford. In North Carolina Francis Asbury referred to him in 
his journal as "Dr. King," suggesting his associates' confidence in his 
credentials as presented. 

However, King must also be seen in the context of his time and 
native country. To 18th-century England, for the working class a place 
of "disease, ignorance, squalor, economic distress" and "bitter penury" 
in which the "number of deaths was seldon far below the number of 
births" (Wearmouth, p. 264), John King's response was to become a 
doctor. The problems of his time, however, were not solely economic 
and medical. Hearing Wesley preach showed him a way to fill another 
desperate need of his time, one which Wesley strove to meet by 
bringing about a spiritual revolution without the violence of a French 
Revolution (Semmel, p. 5). In meeting this spiritual need the Wesleyan 
movement throve upon the enormous waste of ability of the English 
class system, making use of the "talents and genius hidden submerged 
in darkest England" (Wearmouth, p. 264). Methodist societies, bands, 
and classes needed and found lay leaders at every level, and the 
movement made use of able laymen as preachers. King became a 
Methodist preacher. 

The journal Joseph Pilmore kept in America describes in telling 
fashion his relationship with John King. In 1769, John Wesley called 
for preachers for America. Joseph Pilmore and Robert Boardman 
volunteered and were appointed. Pilmore arrived in Philadelphia in 


"John King Preaching at Baltimore (reproduced from the original drawing by Thomas Coke 

Ruckle, now at Lovely Lane Museum)." From Emory S. Buckc, cd., Histpry of American 

Methodism^ Vol I. Nashville: Abingdon, 1964. 

1769. On Saturday, August 18, 1770, Pilmore wrote: "I met with a 
particular trial. A Young Man waited on me, who said he was just 
arrived from Europe, and had been a Preacher among the Methodists. 
But, upon examination, I found he had no letter of Recommendation 
from Mr. Wesley nor any of the Senior Preachers in England or 
Ireland, hence I could not receive him as a Minister in connexion with 
us, nor suffer him to preach among our Societies in America." 
However, as he seemed to be "a good young man," Pilmore wanted to 
be kind to him as a stranger in a foreign land; he would do anything in 
his power to help, but he "could not employ him as a Preacher." The 
next sentence reveals the emerging image of John King: "As this did 
not satisfy him, he departed from me, and was determined to preach 
whether I approved of it or no." Pilmore states his determination to be 
on guard against imposters, because of the harm they might do as false 
teachers of the Gospel (Pilmore, p. 56). John King was twenty-four 
years old at the time. 

A week later, on Sunday the 26th, Pilmore preached in the morning 
and again in the evening at six o'clock. "I wondered to find so few 
people in the Church, but I soon found out the cause of it. Mr. John 
King (the young man who was with me a few days ago, wanting to be 
employed as a Preacher) had published himself, and was preaching in 
the Potters Field to a great multitude of people" (Pilmore, p. 57). In the 
view of the young John King, there was no better way to demonstrate 


to his superior that he was worthy of preaching as a Methodist than, 
handling his own publicity, to preach in the cemetery for the poor at 
the very hour when Pilmore expected a crowd in the chapel for his own 
sermon. In this way did Washington Square in Philadelphia, then 
potter's field, become the scene of King's first American sermon, the 
success of which was the reason for his being allowed to prove his 
ability to his superiors. 

Fortunately, Pilmore was not vindictive. Five days later, on Friday, 
August 30th, King had his chance. "In the evening Mr. John King, 
preached his Probationary sermon." Pilmore writes that he had talked 
with King a great deal since he arrived and found him to be a "zealous 
good man" who should be given a chance to preach before him and the 
other leaders of the church. King won the day, with qualifications. "As 
he earnestiy requested it, I gave him a Licence to preach, and 
recommended him to several Gentiemen in the Country, in hopes of 
advancing the Kingdom of God" (Pilmore, p. 58). The qualification 
was that "altho he is by no mean fit for the City, he is well qualified to 
do good in the Country." Pilmore did not regret his decision. "He 
afterwards turned out wonderfully well, and became an able Minister of 
Jesus Christ." 

If King felt slighted by being judged as not good enough for the 
city, we have no evidence of it. He accepted his assignment. In fact, the 
great strides of the Methodist church in the decade to come would be 
made in the south, and only after the Revolution would the northern 
states again win the attention of Methodist leaders as the scene of 
possible progress. 

There is a question as to whether John King actually did lack 
authorization from England. Sweet in fact wrote that "In the year 1770 
the name America' made its first appearance in the list of Wesley's 
Conference appointments, with the names of four American preachers 
— Joseph Pilmoor, Richard Boardman, Robert Williams, and John 
King" (Sweet, p. 63). Two pages later he writes that Williams, King, 
Yearbry, and Glendenning "came as volunteers, but with Wesley's 
consent." Barclay insists that King's appointment must have been 
regular in view of the fact that the Minutes of the British Methodist 
Conference for 1770 list King as one of four preachers assigned to 
America. Because Jesse Lee wrote that King appeared without license 
from Wesley, Barclay maintains, subsequent historians of Methodism 
have repeated the statement; perhaps, he writes, the impetuous King 
simply neglected to pick up and take with him the credentials rightfully 

After being licensed, Barclay continues, King went to Wilmington, 
Delaware, and afterwards to Maryland to work with Robert 
Strawbridge. In the early 1770s, according to William Watters, there 


were "but three Methodist preachers in Maryland — Williams, 
Strawbridge, and King" (McTyeire, p. 306). King has been said to be 
the first Methodist to preach in Baltimore. This sermon was preached 
from "a blacksmith's block, at the corner of French and Broad streets," 
where, according to Wilkerson (p. 4), Hillen Station now stands. His 
second sermon was from "a table at the junction of Baltimore and 
Calvert streets" (Barclay, p. 34). The legend is that, this being militia 
day in Baltimore, rowdies who were nearby overturned his table; John 
King righted it and proceeded, and the officer in change (by one 
account recognizing King as a fellow countryman) routed the mob. 
His sermon came to the attention of the rector of St. Paul's Church, 
who invited him to deliver a sermon from the pulpit. Here he made so 
much "dust fly from the old velvet cushion" that the invitation was not 
repeated (Barclay, p. 34). 

A measure of John King's effectiveness is the fact that when he 
preached on a Baltimore street corner (the intersection of Front and 
French streets) in early 1772, James Baker was converted. Baker then 
organized a society in his home (Asbury, I, 69, 189), which became a 
customary preaching site for the evangelists (Stevens, I, 89), and later 
donated the ground on which the Forks Meeting House was erected in 
1773, the third Methodist chapel in Maryland. Subsequentiy Baker's 
son James Baker was also converted by the preaching of John King 
(Stevens, I, 89). He is credited also with converting a Henry Bowman 
on his first visit to Harford County, Maryland. In this case, "before he 
began the services, in a large congregation, he stood some time in silent 
prayer, covering his face with his hands. The spectacle struck the 
attention of a young man with such effect that he was awakened," 
converted, and henceforth lived and subsequently died a "devoted 
Methodist" (Stevens, I, 88). Again, John Hagerty, who became an 
itinerant in 1779 and was ordained a deacon in 1784 at the Christmas 
Conference, was converted by John King in Baltimore. One of 
Hagertys fortunate attributes was that he could preach in German 
(Asbury, I, 194; ed.'s note). In the 1780s Hagerty wrote long and 
informative letters to Edward Dromgoole, the Virginia itinerant, 
reporting on the successful spreading of "the work" (Dromgoole 

Pilmore went on a mission to Delaware in April 1771 and reported 
contact with John King. On Thursday, April 18, he wrote that he "met 
with Mr. John King — the person that I sent into these parts several 
months ago, and have the happpiness to find, God has made him an 
Instrument of abundance of good among the Country people" 
(Pilmore, p. 84). Three days later, on Sunday, April 21, Pilmore was 
back in Philadelphia, and so were John King and Robert Williams. "Mr. 
King preached in the morning. How wonderfully improved since he 


arrived America! He is now likely to be an able minister of the Gospel, 
and will, I trust, be a blessing to mankind." And this great 
improvement was evident in the city, for which Pilmore originally felt 
King to be unfit. Pilmore continues, "As I had Mr. Williams and Mr. 
King both in the City, I was glad to accept of their assistance, and we all 
united in striving together for the hope of the Gospel." The meetings 
they held together were "lively, and the souls of the people were so 
refreshed, that they greatly rejoiced to run the heavenly race" (Pilmore, 
p. 85). 

Still, Pilmore strove against certain tendencies apparent in "the 
country." The following year, in June 1772, he went on a mission to 
Gunpowder Neck, Maryland. "In the evening I had much conversation 
with some who think they are called to preach and are as hot as fire, but 
it is dreadfully Wilde and Enthusiastic." He observes the difference 
between would-be preachers characterized by "heated imagination" 
and those with "pure illumination of the Spirit." "God has 
undoubtedly begun a good work in these parts by the Ministery of 
Messrs. John King, Robert Williams, & Robert Strawbridge," but 
Pilmore continues to find it necessary to testify against "wildness, 
shouting, and confusion, in the worship of God" (Pilmore, p. 138). 
There is no evidence that he holds King, Williams, and Strawbridge 
responsible for the tone of the would-be preachers in their area. 

In fact, his confidence in and satisfaction with King is henceforth 
unbroken. Two days later, at Gunpowder Forks, Maryland, he preached 
to a "little company of people" some of whom came late and, when 
Pilmore ended his sermon, were "unwilling to go away." As he had 
another preaching engagement, he "desired Mr. King to stay behind 
and preach to them" (Pilmore, p. 138), thus willingly appointing John 
King as a substitute for himself. And then on Tuesday, June 23, he set 
out from Baltimore to preach to the Societies in the country and, 
arriving late at one appointed place, found that "Mr. King was 
preaching ... so I kept out of sight till he had done, and then gave the 
people an Exhortation, and was gready refreshed and comforted 
among them" (p. 140). The previously unlikely John King had become 
a totally satisfactory co-worker and associate. 

Minutes of Methodist conferences reveal John King's 
appointments to various fields of activity during the 1770s. These are 
individually entitled "Minutes of Some Conversations between the 
Preachers in Connexion with the Reverend Mr. John Wesley," the word 
connexion meaning licensed to preach as a representative of Wesley. In 
the year 1785 the title given the conference minutes became "Minutes 
Taken at the Several Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church." This was the year after the Christmas Conference of 1784, at 
which the church in America established its own identity; these 


minutes combined the reports of all conferences held in a particular 

The first of these "Minutes of Some Conversations" is dated 1773, 
and its subject is the ordinances. Meeting in Philadelphia in June, the 
preachers affirm the authority of Mr. Wesley over the preachers of 
America, Great Britain, and Ireland to the effect that they will not 
administer the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper. The 
Methodist preachers and the ordinances still belong to the Church of 

The subject had been dealt with at a quarterly meeting of preachers 
the previous year, December 23-24, 1772, at Gunpowder Neck near 
Aberdeen, Maryland. As bury reports this conference in his journal. The 
second question, following the question-and-answer format of these 
conferences, was "How are the preachers stationed?" The answer was 
"Brother Strawbridge and brother O wings in Frederick county 
Brother King, brother Webster, and Isaac Rollings, on the other side of 
the bay; and myself in Baltimore" (Asbury, I, p. 60). The fifth question 
is the crucial one for this conference. "Will the people be contented 
without our administering the sacrament?" Asbury reports their 
responses: "John King was neuter." But Robert Strawbridge pleaded 
so intently to be permitted to offer baptism and the Lord's Supper, and 
so did "the people," who had been influenced by him, that Asbury was 
forced to "connive at some things for the sake of peace." Boardman had 
"given them their way at the quarterly meeting held here before." Jesse 
Lee in his history wrote that Asbury "would not agree to it at that time" 
(Lee, p. 41), much to the dissatisfaction and eventually to the 
estrangement of Robert Strawbridge, who, though subsequently 
appointed twice, eventually went his own way among the people he 
had previously won to the movement. 

John King's neutrality in this controversy is striking. He had been 
working in "the country," to use Pilmore's designation, with 
Strawbridge, who had been preaching in Maryland since about 1760. 
One might infer that he was unwilling to oppose his closest associates 
in the field but also unable to depart from the position of Wesley, 
Pilmore, and Asbury, the acknowledged leaders of the movement, 
whose approval he had labored to gain. Again, it is possible that he 
took this position in 1772 because he saw Asbury as the embodiment 
of leadership in the movement. 

Another issue than that concerning the ordinances may have 
influenced King against opposing Asbury. The controversy came to a 
head at "our general conference" on Wednesday, July 14, 1773, at St. 
George's Church, Philadelphia. Among those present were Rankin, 
Shadford, Pilmore, Webb, Boardman, Wright, King, Whitworth, and 
Yearby (Asbury, I, 85). Asbury had previously reported accepting 


"Boardman's plan of assignment" (Maser, p. 45), whereby Wright 
went to New York, Boardman to Boston, Pilmore to Virginia, and 
Asbury to Philadelphia. This arrangement may be the reference point 
of Asbury's observation, two years after his arrival, concerning service 
in the country versus service in the city. "There were some debates 
amongst the preachers in this conference, relative to the conduct of 
some who had manifested a desire to abide in the cities, and live like 
gentlemen. Three years out of four have been already spent in the cities. 
It was also found that money had been wasted, improper leaders 
appointed, and many of our rules broken" (Asbury, I, p. 85). 

To Asbury, who had already begun traveling his "long road," settled 
life in the city would indeed have seemed gendemanly And John King 
had been remanded to the country as to a place where the standards 
were lower and those of the lesser talents in the movement would be 
functional and forgivable. The most promising area of expansion, 
however, was proving to be southward and then westward, and 
Pilmore (p. 85) had already observed John King's success, with that of 
Strawbridge and Williams. The charge of leading a gentlemanly life 
inconsonant with the cause may have been aimed at Pilmore, 
Boardman, and Wright (Maser, p. 61). It was supported by letters from 
Wesley, whose life for several decades had involved protracted yearly 
stints of ungentlemanly and arduous travel by horseback, and Pilmore 
in his journal gives evidence of being deeply hurt by Wesley's attitude 
toward him, possibly on this subject. Pilmore returned to England in 
1774, and his subsequent life, though that of a Methodist minister, in 
part in Philadelphia, was far from that of the circuit rider on his horse 
doing battle with the wilderness and the inhospitable elements (Maser, 
p. 62). 

King had been working in Delaware and Maryland since late 1770. 
After Asbury arrived in Philadelphia in October 1771, King may have 
seized upon occasions to work with him. On April 20, 1772, eight 
months before the quarterly conference at Presbury's concerning the 
ordinances, at which John King was neutral, Asbury wrote that he "Set 
out for Burlington, where I met with brother Webb and brother John 
King, and found the people there very lively" (Asbury, I, 29). On the 
following day, they began a journey to Philadelphia. "Was desired to 
attend the execution of the prisoners at Chester, and John King went 
with me." Here then was John King in Chester, Pennsylvania, rather 
than at the locus of his labours, which was farther south and east. "We 
found them penitent," Asbury continued, "and two of the four found 
peace with God, and seemed very thankful. I preached with liberty to a 
great number of people under the jail wall. The sheriff was friendly and 
very kind." John King, he continued, "preached at the gallows to a vast 
multitude; after which I prayed with them." Both knew that they were 


performing together a ritual which Wesley and others had enacted 
many times in England, Ireland, and elsewhere, seeking to save the 
souls of the condemned. "The executioner pretended to tie them all up, 
but only tied one, and let the rest fall. One of them was a young man 
about fifteen. We saw them all afterward, and exhorted them to be 
careful." Whatever the meaning of the fake execution, Asbury and King 
worked as a team throughout the ritual. <c We returned to Philadelphia 
the same night, and I gave an exhortation." 

There were other instances of their working together before the 
December 1772 quarterly conference. On Friday, November 12, in 
Maryland, "... my soul was happy in God. I rode about eight miles to 
meet John King. Many people attended the word at Mr. Gatch's; and 
after preaching John King came. We went together to town 
[Baltimore] and stayed all night" (Asbury, I, 52). Again, on Monday, 
December 7, near Aberdeen, Maryland, having preached in a cold 
chapel the day before, "John King and I went about five miles to lodge; 
and the next morning set off for Bohemia Manor. We passed through 
Charlestown [forty miles northeast of Baltimore], and dined at the 
head of the Elk [Elkton]. We lodged at Robert Thompson's, where I 
spoke closely to the poor Negroes, who took some notice of what was 
said" (Asbury, I, pp. 56-57). Then on December 22, there came the 
quarterly conference at Presbury's at which John King voted neutral on 
the issue of the sacraments and was stationed in Maryland "on the other 
side of the bay" from Strawbridge and O wings. 

King met Asbury again before the June conference. On Friday, 
March 12, 1773, Asbury preached a funeral sermon in Maryland at 
which there "was scarcely a dry eye to be seen" (Asbury, I, 72). "After 
preaching I rode to Mr. Dallam's, and met with brother King and 
brother Webster, and found myself abundandy comforted in their 
company." Asbury continues to show great satisfaction in all his 
relations with King. The next was on Thursday, April 8, 1773: "I left 
Baltimore. John King and three exhorters being present, we held a 
watch-night at Preston's, and the Lord was powerfully with us" 
(Asbury, I, 75). On Tuesday, April 14, 1773, he wrote that at the next 
conference he intends to send John King to New Jersey. "Had much 
conversation with Abraham Whitworth," whom he also intended to 
assign at the next conference, in May, "but found him unwilling to 
spend all his time in travelling." Nevertheless, Whitworth "agreed to 
take a part with John King. So my intention is to send them to the 
upper part of the Jerseys, where they may labour alternately, a fortnight 
at a time" (Journals, I, 76). Perhaps such an "alternate" appointment 
provides the reason why King so often shows up in Philadelphia, 
Maryland, and Delaware during these years. 


Then, in May 1773, having riden to Philadelphia in the rain, 
As bury was ill, but preached on the morning of May 16 and met the 
society at night. The next day, Monday, May 17, "I was very unwell 
with a sore throat and violent pain in my head; but John King 
providentially came in and supplied my place" (Asbury, I, 78). Even in 
the city, King's services are welcome to Asbury. In June 1773 came the 
conference in Philadelphia at which the authority of Wesley was 
upheld, especially in the matter of ordinances. John King, with William 
Watters, was assigned to New Jersey, and it was evident that "numbers" 
in the Middle Atiantic states and New Jersey were outstripping those of 
New York and Philadelphia. The preachers numbered ten (Minutes of 
the Methodist Conferences, p. 3). 

Asbury saw King at least two times more during 1773. In 
Maryland, on Thursday, July 29, at Joseph Presbury's, Asbury had a 
problem of lameness in one foot, but was nevertheless impressed by the 
"great things" that the Lord had done for the people of this area. The 
comment perhaps reflects well on King's earlier activities, though King 
himself had been assigned to New Jersey since June. "On Saturday, 
John King met me" (Asbury, I, 88), in Gunpowder Neck, Maryland, 
rather than on his circuit in New Jersey. Perhaps the reason for his 
presence was "our quarterly meeting" beginning on Monday, August 
1773. Again, Strawbridge was found inflexible on the ordinances. 

Philip Gatch, a twenty-one year old admitted to full connection 
and assigned to Frederick County, Maryland, in 1774, reported being 
accompanied by John King to his appointment in Maryland. "In 
company with Mr. King" (who was himself twenty-eight in 1774), "I 
crossed the Delaware. He preached and held a love-feast. On the 
following morning, he pursued his journey, leaving me a stranger in a 
strange land" (Stevens, I, 195). King was appointed that year to New 
Jersey. Perhaps his own fearlessness made him unaware of the young 
Gatch's trepidation. 

In Baltimore with Asbury on December 14, 1773, John King 
seems to have met an enemy. Asbury wrote that "Mr. Chase, a Church 
minister, was present at preaching." This was the Rev. Thomas Chase, 
an Englishman, rector of St. Paul's Church since 1741. "We had some 
conversation afterward, in which we did not disagree. But, poor man! 
one more ignorant of the deep things of God, I have scarcely met with, 
of his cloth. He knew brother King, and appearing to be angry with 
him, abused him for preaching in the church" (Asbury, I, 99). Chase 
could only have known John King in Maryland, where Chase had 
resided, apparentiy, since before King's birth. "Preaching in the church" 
must mean preaching at all without credentials as a clergyman of the 
Church of England, an infraction for which Chase might have berated 
Asbury as well. John King is not recorded as having preached in a 


Church of England structure since he "made the dust fly" by invitation 
in Chase's own church in Baltimore in 1770. 

At the conference in Philadelphia on May 25, 1774, Asbury 
assigned John King to Norfolk, Virginia. The number of preachers was 
then seventeen, the number "in society" 2073. Asbury himself would 
work in New York ("to change in three months"), and John King was 
listed as one of the Assistants "this year" (Minutes, pp. 7-8). Jesse Lee 
later described the southern scene: In early 1774 Robert Williams 
"began to form societies in Virginia, and made out a plan for a six 
weeks circuit, which extended from Petersburgh, to the south over 
Roanoke River, some distance into North Carolina." The Minutes for 
the year 1774 listed King for Norfolk and, for Brunswick, John Wade, 
Isaac Rollins, and Samuel Spragg. (Lee's account omits the name of 
Spragg.) Their phenomenal success, indicated in the Minutes by 
increasing numbers, is described by Lee: "These preachers were blessed 
among the people and were made a blessing to them in their turn; and 
in the latter part of the year, there was a most remarkable revival of 
religion in most parts of the circuit. Christians were much united, and 
much devoted to God; . . . sinners were greatly alarmed. ..." (Lee, p. 
51). Bennett wrote that John King was not confined to Norfolk and 
Portsmouth, but "regarded himself as a missionary to the south parts of 
Virginia, where his labors were made a blessing to many people" (p. 

The year 1775 presents perplexities in the record. John King was 
assigned to Trenton again at the conference on May 17, 1775, at 
Philadelphia. Asbury assigned himself to Norfolk (Minutes, pp. 9-10). 
King probably went to Trenton at midyear, but on Thursday, 
December 7, Asbury met him in Virginia. "I saw brother John King, 
whose heart seems to be yet in the work of God. We had a good time 
to-day at T Andrews's, both in preaching and class meeting. ... I also 
found my soul devoted to God in faith and prayer, the next day. And 
after preaching at F. Andrews's, met the society, which consisted chiefly 
of penitents" (Asbury, I, 169). And then, a week later, on Friday, 
December 15, having been ill in the meantime, he wrote, "Was able to 
preach at N. Moss's, and met with brother John King and his wife, who 
were married yesterday" (Asbury, I, 170). Asbury takes no note of the 
fact that King was a long way from Trenton. Indeed, the week before, 
King had impressed Asbury with his continued devotion to the 
movement, although marriage in most cases meant that an itinerant 
settled and ceased to travel. 

On his Norfolk assignment, which presumably ended in May 
1775, King had met the Seawell family of Brunswick County, Virginia. 
On December 14, 1775, he married a daughter of the family, Sallie. He 
thus became the brother-in-law of Green Hill, who had married Sallie's 


sister Mary on June 3, 1773. Their brother Benjamin Seawell, Jr., lived 
in Bute County, North Carolina, where Green Hill was established and 
where King and his wife would live after his location. The elder 
Benjamin Seawell and his wife Lucy Hicks Seawell, parents of Sallie, 
had moved to Bute County in 1770, to a location about thirty miles 
south of their earlier home in Brunswick County, Virginia. The 
younger Benjamin Seawell, brother of Sallie, was active on 
revolutionary committees from 1775 and was a delegate to the same 
provincial congresses attended by Green Hill, his brother-in-law since 
1773 (Smith). Distinguished as they were, John King, with his Oxford 
and M.D. degrees, was almost surely the best educated man of the area. 
In 1775, John Wesley wrote King the often-quoted letter 
concerning his preaching style. In Wesley's Works, this letter precedes 
two others to a John King whose address is clearly an English one at a 
date when Dr. John King had long lived in America. But this one, 
Wesley letter number 325, has been traditionally thought to be 
addressed to America, although the address is not given as in the other 
two cases. The heading was 'TSfear Leeds, July 28, 1775." 

My Dear Brother, 

Always take advice or reproof as a favour: It is the surest mark of love. 

I advised you once, and you took it as an affront: Nevertheless I will 
do it once more. 

Scream no more, at the peril of your soul. God now warns you by me, 
whom he has set over you. Speak as earnestly as you can; but do not 
scream. Speak with all your heart; but with a moderate voice. It was said 
of our Lord, "He shall not cry:" The word properly means, He shall not 
scream. Herein be a follower of me, as I am of Christ. I often speak loud; 
often vehemently; but I never scream; I never strain myself. I dare not: I 
know it would be a sin against God and my own soul. Perhaps one reason 
why that good man, Thomas Walsh, yea and John Manners too, were in 
such grievous darkness before they died, was, because they shortened 
their own lives. 

O John, pray for an advisable and teachable temper! By nature you 
are very far from it: You are stubborn and headstrong. Your last letter was 
written in a very wrong spirit. If you cannot take advice from others, 
surely you might take it from 

Your affectionate brother. 

[John Weslev] 


What prompted Wesley to write this letter to King is a subject for 
speculation, in view of the fact that the two could not have seen each 
other since 1770. Wesley could only have had reason to complain of 
King's "screaming" after being prompted by someone in America. In 
March 1771, Wesley had indeed complained to Pilmore of lack of 
information from America because of a complaint made to him in 
England concerning the terms under which the "preaching houses" 
were held. Wesley enlarged upon the subject of their keeping him in 
ignorange. "What is become of Robert Williams? Where is he now? 
And what is he doing? Are he and John King of a teachable spirit? Do 
they act in conjunction with you? Still, I complain of you all for writing 
too seldom. Surely it would not hurt you were you to write once a 
month" (Wesley, Letters, \^ 232). At this time, by Wesley's own word, 
he knew too little of the American scene. Even so, the word "teachable" 
in relation to John King anticipates Wesley's much later letter to King 
of July 1775. After the conference of 1773, with its discussion of 
gentiemanly living, the year before Pilmore returned to England, he 
expressed in his journal alarm and distress that Wesley treated him as 
"an enemy to God and mankind" (Maser, p. 61-62). However, Wesley's 
letter to King suggests more immediate prompting, as of a complaint 
more recent than the time of Pilmore's return. Were there perhaps 
letters since lost between Wesley and King and evidence of King's 
recalcitrance from his own pen though it could not have come from his 

The importance of the letter is that our sense of King's character 
comes partly from that source. It is quite true that there is no 
inconsistency between Pilmore's description of the young man who 
wouldn't take no for an answer and Wesley's description of him as 
"stubborn and headstrong" by nature. But this may not be the only 
reason it has become traditional to assume that John King spoke with 
great passion and that his voice rose into the upper registers when he 
was excited. Asbury supported this view in the journals when he wrote 
in Maryland on April 29, 1775, "In the evening John King preached a 
good and profitable sermon, but long and loud enough" (Journals, I, 
155). Finally, a comparison of the dates of this comment of Asbury's 
and of Wesley's letter might lead to the conclusion that Asbury himself 
had requested Wesley's help. 

The Minutes for the conference of May 21, 1776, held in 
Baltimore, do not list an assignment for John King. Probably he 
remained in North Carolina, unassigned, at least early in the year 
following his marriage. On September 11, 1776, his first child was 
born, an only daughter, Elizabeth, whose birth and death dates, with 
the name of her husband, are carved on her gravestone in Louisburg. 
Two months later, however, on Wednesday, November 13, 1776, he 


was in Maryland, again with As bury, who wrote that the day "was 
spent comfortably with the preachers. We had a public meeting, in 
which we all prayed and exhorted: and the lord gave us his blessing. 
Brother King and I spent Thursday at Mr. Gough's; and on Friday I 
went to Baltimore" (As bury, I, 205). Asbury recorded his disturbance 
at news of the Battle of White Plains, New York, and expressed the 
wish that men could live in peace. And as soon afterward as Tuesday, 
February 4, 1777, still in Maryland (Baltimore was his charge that 
year), Asbury encountered John King again. "After a season of 
temptations and spiritual exercises, I found my mind disburdened, and 
a holy, awful nearness to God. On Thursday I set out for Reisterstown, 
in order to meet brother George Shadford, and calling in at Mr. 
Warfield's (?), where brother King was then speaking, I also spoke a 
few words, and found my soul refreshed" (Journals, I, 229). 

It appears, then, that little more than a year after his marriage on 
the Norfolk circuit, and soon after the birth of his first child, King was 
again in action near Asbury. Perhaps he found it hard to remain in a 
fixed location. Perhaps his attachment to Asbury was such that he was 
reluctant to separate from him. Both were Englishmen, both 
immigrants who would never return to their homeland, but their social 
and educational backgrounds diverged, King having the edge in both 
areas. They were close to the same age. However, their respective 
relationships to John Wesley, who had converted them both, were 
drastically different, as evidenced by the letter. Perhaps the stable and 
consistent Asbury provided a close, warm, and beneficial influence to 
the man who had had to fight, with his English family and in his 
relation to Pilmore, to become part of the movement. Certainly it is 
possible to infer that King's relationship to Asbury was a very 
significant one in his life. 

On May 20, 1777, at the conference held in Maryland "at a 
Preaching-House, near Deer-Creek, in Harford County," King was 
again listed as an assistant for the year, and his assignment is to North 
Carolina, with John Dickins, Lee Roy Cole, and Edward Pride 
(Minutes, pp. 13-14). (North Carolina was then home to 930 society 
members.) In 1778 he received no appointment, and in 1779 the Tar 
River circuit, which included Louisburg, was designated for the first 
time, but those appointed to it were Andrew Yeargan and William 

John King's second child, his son Joel, was born in 1778, and the 
father was in process of becoming a landowner in Bute and Wake 
counties. He was in his early thirties during these years. In 1780 he 
acquired a grant of land from the state of North Carolina for 330 acres 
in Wake County on the north side of Crabtree Creek and on both sides 
of Turkey Creek. In 1781 he bought 292 3/4 acres of land in Franklin 


County north of Tar River and on Fox Swamp from Gabriel Long and 
Sarah Richmond Long. In 1782 the State of North Carolina granted 
King an additional 640 acres in Wake County, increasing his holdings 
in that county to 970 acres (E. H. Davis, Historical Sketches, p. 281). 
But for the next decade, approximately, he lived in Franklin County 
among those related to him by marriage. (Bute was divided into 
Warren and Franklin counties in 1779, in a delayed action on a bill 
introduced into the senate by King's brother-in-law, Benjamin Seawell, 
Jr., in 1777 [Smith].) 

King was an Englishman who had by this time lived for less than a 
decade in this country in the period when the revolutionary impulse 
gathered force. Methodists themselves were suspect because of 
Wesley's stand against the revolution; most of the English evangelists 
returned to England, and even Asbury remained relatively inactive for a 
period with friends in Maryland. (Nevertheless, there was never a year 
after the first recorded conference in 1772 when the Methodist 
conferences were not held.) In North Carolina, in 1777 the Assembly 
adopted an oath that offered the choice of allegiance or banishment 
(Powell, North Carolina, p. 189). John King was called in, with others, 
by the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Bute County in 1778 to 
take the oath. He subscribed to the oath of allegiance "on the following 
day" (E. H. Davis, Historical Sketches, p. 87). (His brother-in-law 
Benjamin Seawell, Jr., may have been the judge of the court at that 
time, as he certainly was in the following year. King's relationship by 
marriage to the revolutionary families of Seawell and Hill would surely 
have warded off suspicion of his loyalties before this time.) 

John King's period of residence in the Louisburg area encompassed 
the founding of the town itself. Franklin County was formed when old 
Bute County was dissolved on January 29, 1779, and the town of 
Louisburg was chartered by the legislature on October 27, 1779. At 
that time land was set aside for a town common; the next step was to 
provide for education. The general assembly ratified on January 6, 
1787, Senator Henry Hill's bill, "An Act to Erect and Establish an 
Academy in the County of Franklin." " Be it therefore enacted by the 
authority of the State of North Carolina . . . that Doctor John King, 
William Lancaster, Josiah Lowe, Benjamin Seawell, Robert Goodlow, 
Robert Bell, Jorden Hill . . . Hugh Hays ..." would serve as trustees of 
Franklin Academy in Louisburg (Clark, p. 876). Dr. John King was 
listed first among twelve trustees, probably called to this service 
because he had better educational credentials than anyone else among 
the trustees, which included his brother-in-law Judge Seawell. At the 
same time, he may have been the initiator of the academy movement. 
(By the time the academy was rechartered in 1802, constructed in 


1804, and opened in 1805, John King had resided for perhaps six years 
on his land in Wake County and, in 1795, his death had occurred.) 

During his residence in Franklin County, King's encounters with 
Asbury continued. In 1780, when Asbury preached at Nutbush Chapel 
in Vance County, North Carolina, he wrote that he "Rode home with 
Dr. King. His wife was in society" (Asbury, I, p. 360). This is one of the 
two references by Asbury to Sallie Seawell King, to whom King had 
been married for about four years: Was it significant to Asbury that 
King married a lady who was already a Methodist? Again, on February 
3, 1789, after King had moved to Wake County northwest of Raleigh, 
Asbury on his way to South Carolina wrote, "I stopped on my way at 
Dr. King's, and took dinner, and had my horse shod" (Asbury, I, 591). 

It was the issue of slavery, E. H. Davis believed, that caused John 
King's retirement. The question was put before the conference of 1784, 
"What shall be done with our traveling preachers that now or hereafter 
shall be possessed of negroes and shall refuse to manumit them where 
the law permits? Ans. Employ them no more." Davis wrote, "In the 
gathering shadows of this controversy, and foreseeing the result, King, 
connected as he was with it, quietly retires" ("John King," p. 442). This 
issue was, however, quieted at the conference of April 1785, which 
King also attended. And King having had no charge since 1777, it 
seems improbable that any great change in his affiliation would have 
been brought about by the soon-abrogated decision of 1784. 

On April 20, 1785, King attended at Green Hill the first annual 
conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America since its 
establishment as such the year before. "There is a family tradition that 
as he entered the room in which the Conference had assembled, Dr. 
Coke, without a word of salutation, called upon him to pray Laying 
aside his saddlebags, he began his petition" (McTyeire, p. 270). John 
King appears to have been regarded by his associates as capable of 
meeting any occasion. 

After King's death in 1795, his memory lingered on in Asbury's 
journal. On Sunday, January 23, 1814, travelling from a conference in 
South Carolina and a visit to Fayetteville, North Carolina, Asbury 
wrote, "I visited Sister Perry, the former wife of John King, one of the 
first Methodist preachers" (Carroll, p. 263). E. H. Davis wrote that 
King's Wake County home, after his death occupied by his widow and 
her second husband, Frank Perry, was on Swift Creek, west of Raleigh, 
near "Asbury" and "Method," which became stations on the railroad 
("John King," p. 436). Finally, in February 1816, on his final journey, 
unable to arrive in Raleigh in time for the Virginia Conference which 
met there in January, Asbury spoke to the society in the home of one of 
the sons of Dr. John King (Carroll, p. 272), perhaps Benjamin Seawell 
King, clerk of the court in Wake County, less probably that John King, 


Jr., who in 1797 was admitted on trial as a preacher and appointed to 
the Salisbury Circuit (Minutes, pp. 184-193). 

King was also remembered by Edward Dromgoole, early rider of 
the Carolina circuit, who located in 1786; Dromgoole wrote in the 
1820s that he had been "intimately acquainted" with John King, along 
with Asbury, Rankin, Shadford, Coke, and Whatcoat, among the 
preachers who came from Great Britain ("Dear Brethren," Dromgoole 

John King's will was filed in January 1795 and probated in 
September 1795. In it he "gave two directions for his real estate 
depending on the contingency of his wife's second marriage." To his 
oldest child, his daughter Betsy, he left no real estate at all, as she was 
the wife of a "wealthy planter," Geraldus Toole of Edgecombe County, 
"whose family connections, like his landed interests, were extensive" 
(E. H. Davis, Historical Sketches, p. 282). Books listed in an inventory 
of King's personal property, sold soon after his death (E. H. Davis, p. 
283), were "two volumes of Milton's works, two volumes of Fletcher's 
works" (probably one of the poets named Fletcher rather than the 
playwright), two volumes of James Thompson, Edward Young's 
cc Night Thoughts," Tom Paine's "Appeal to Reason," Rollins' history, 
three volumes of a history of the bible, "two volumes of Natural 
History, two volumes of Plato, and three volumes of the Arminian 
Magazine" (the Arminian Magazine was published by Coke and 
Asbury in Philadelphia in the 1770s to oppose the Whitefield 
predestinarian wing of Methodist thinking). Such a library speaks for 
his education. A bible of his has also survived among his descendants; it 
is a well-worn leather-bound volume with an inscription inside the 
back: "John King's book, Preacher of the Gospel, North Carolina" (E. 
H. Davis, "John King," p. 435). This bible was exhibited in the 
museum and art gallery created for a day for the centennial celebration 
of the town of Louisburg in 1879. The display was set up in the 
still-extant building of the academy John King had helped to found in 
1787 (Willard, p. 135). 

E. H. Davis wrote in 1948 that the circumstances of John King's 
death — "the exact time and place as well as the place of burial" — were 
unknown to any of his numerous descendants. McTyeire had written in 
1885 that King died while on a visit to New Bern and was buried at his 
home in Wake County (p. 270). Wilkerson/Perry in 1975 quoted 
McTyeire but added that the exact time, place, and details are not 
known (p. 12). However, some local and family lore has survived. 

In the Franklin Times on February 21, 1902, Matthew S. Davis, 
then president of Louisburg College, published "Important History of 
Persons and Matters Connected with the Louisburg Female College in 
the Long Ago." Commenting on the roll of students at the Female 


Academy in 1818, Davis notes that some are descendants of John 
King. (Davis's wife was a granddaughter of Elizabeth King Toole.) He 
quotes the letter from John Wesley, dramatizing Wesley's view of 
King. King was a man of "rough exterior" who never took advice 
because he was wiser than his advisers. He quotes an unnamed 
historian to the effect that King "came from London and appeared as 
abrupt as an Elijah preaching in the Potter's Field above the bones of 
paupers." The Potter's Field sermon is dramatically amalgamated with 
that on the butcher's block in Baltimore, and King defiantly finishes his 
presumed first sermon, discountenancing the ruffians who had 
overturned his block. "That was characteristic of John King. All the 
powers of earth could not frighten him and when he had made up his 
mind to do a thing, that thing was going to be done. ..." Davis's ironic 
tone concerning the personality of John King may be his response to 
having heard a great deal about his wife's distinguished ancestors. 

The death of John King, Davis writes, was "rather tragical. . . . 
There was an important will case to be tried in an adjoining county and 
he had been summoned to give expert testimony. On his way to court 
he spent a night at the house of a man who was deeply interested in the 
result of the trial. This of course, was unknown to King. That night he 
was taken suddenly ill and died under very suspicious circumstances. 
Many believed there was foul play but the matter was never 
investigated. His remains lie buried in an unmarked grave twelve miles 
west of Raleigh." 

Judging from the account of the death given by Louise Perry, 
nothing of this has come down in her branch of the King family, which 
descended from John King's son Joel rather than Elizabeth King Toole 
— if indeed this suggestion concerning the death is family lore as 
opposed to a tale generated in the surroundings. John King made his 
will in January 1795 at the age of forty-eight or forty- nine, and his 
making it may very well have been a response to some intimation of 
mortality of which his family did not know or of which they did not 
recognize the importance. 

One other family legend persisted, this one recorded in 1919. 
Mabel Irwin Davis, a daughter of Matthew S. Davis and Louisa Hill 
Davis and a sister of Edward Hill Davis, published in the Franklin 
Times on Friday, June 13, 1919, an article entitied "Louisburg and 
Methodism," written in response to plans for an Epworth League 
Conference in Louisburg during the following week. The article 
concerns the man Green Hill, the conferences held in Louisburg, and 
John King. Family lore is the basis of some aspects of her account. "My 
mother's grandmother, who was a daughter of the Rev. John King, 
once took my mother, then a child, to the site of the old house on the 
Allen place in which she said she attended conference in company with 


her father. That was probably after King settled in Wake county." 
Elizabeth King Toole was born in 1776 and died in 1857. Louisa Hill 
Davis was a child during the 1840s, having been born in 1836. King 
settled in Wake County in the late 1780s. Mabel Davis believed that the 
reference was to one of the later conferences held "at Green Hill's," but 
she also believed that Green Hill once lived at the house on the "Allen 
Place" off Highway 561 east of Louisburg (if he had, it would probably 
have been before 1775, when his house is thought to have been built, 
but certainly before the first conference at Green Hill in 1785). In view 
of the fact that Louisa Hill had herself as a little girl lived in the Allen 
place, her grandmother could not have taken her to the main house as 
to a site unknown to her. The conference to which "Grandma Toole" 
referred could have been any one of the four held at Green Hill's: April 
1785, January 1792, December 1792, or December 1793 (Grissom, p. 
121). Possibly some part of a conference was held in another house 
than Green Hill, which, apart from confused childhood memories, no 
one in the family would have mistaken for any other place. Probably 
Elizabeth Toole referred to a structure, long gone, apart from the 
"main house" on the Allen place. 

What matters is that here we glimpse John King, "one of the first 
Methodist preachers," as Asbury described him, now as a father, 
bringing with him to a conference his oldest child and only daughter. 
She may well have spent her time with the young people of the 
household while her father was in conference, but her presence would 
not have been included in the minutes. During the girlhood of her 
favorite granddaughter, she took her on an excursion and told the story, 
probably in the 1840s. And Louisa Hill Davis told the story to her 
daughter Mabel, who included it in her account of "Louisburg and 
Methodism" in 1916. 

John King had six children, Elizabeth, Joel, Benjamin, Thomas, 
John, and William. His children were all Methodists, and two of his 
sons, John and William, were Methodist preachers (Wilkerson/Perry, p. 
11). His son John entered the ministry in 1797 (Salisbury Circuit in 
1797, Pamlico in 1798, etc.). Further, the descendants of the elder John 
King were "worthily represented in the Methodist ministry and laity of 
Kentucky and Tennessee to this day" (1885) (McTyeire, p. 270). His 
oldest son Joel was a businessman in Louisburg until his death in 1863 
and was business partner in the 1790s and into the 19th century to 
Geraldus Toole, his brother-in-law. Joel King bought Green Hill when 
its owner and builder moved to Tennessee, and his grave is there. He 
was a trustee of Franklin Academy. In an obituary for the North 
Carolina Christian Advocate, T W Guthrie states, "He gave me many 
incidents connected with the history of Methodism in this section, one 
of which was that many years ago a Conference was held in his house 


over which Bishop Asbury presided. He had a vivid recollection of 
Bishop Asbury, whom he described as a venerable and deeply pious 
man whose heart and entire being were wrapped up in his work" (E. H. 
Davis, Historical Sketches , p. 281). 

The kind of lore that is lacking in the case of Green Hill we inherit 
in surprising abundance for John King. Joel King, his oldest son, 
appears to be the source. As a boy, Joel was absent one morning from 
family prayers. He explained to his rigidly disciplinary father that he 
had been delayed in attending to his traps. Although John King liked 
partridge as a dish, he chastised Joel "without ceremony 5 ' for his 
inattendance at prayers. For this Sallie Seawell King upbraided her 
husband, and Joel overheard. Joel then destroyed his traps and 
explained to his father that they would not again be a reason for 
punishing him. For this the father thrashed Joel again and made him 
rebuild all the traps (Allen). 

"Now there was certainly one person who was not afraid of Dr. 
King," his wife, Sallie Seawell King, who "was about two inches taller 
than her husband, and of other dimensions in proportion" (Allen). A 
grandson told the story that his father, Dr. King's son, broke his arm. 
"It was a compound and comminuted fracture. Dr. King set to work on 
it. But doing surgery on his own son 'unnerved him and he became 
faint and sick and had to desist."' Mrs. King took over. "She gave the 
doctor a glass of brandy and made him lie down, while she officiated as 
surgeon." Dr. King admitted that the work was done "in the best style 
with no later deformity" (Allen). 

Benjamin Seawell King, John King's next son, was clerk of the 
court in Wake County for twenty years beginning early in the 19th 
century. His wife was a Cummins; his daughter married Alfred 
Williams, who established a leading bookstore of long standing in 
Raleigh. "Their only daughter became the wife of Dr. E. Burke 
Haywood, physician and surgeon, who gave distinguished service in 
the Confederate army." Subsequent generations of this name achieved 
eminence in law and medicine in particular (E. H. Davis, Historical 
Sketches p. 282). On November 30, 1800, Benjamin wrote from 
Raleigh to his brother Joel in Louisburg, "I saw William on Thursday 
and he tells me that mother with Bro. John & wife, Mr. Perry [second 
husband of Sallie Seawell King], and all the tenantry are well . . ." He 
had recendy been to a camp meeting, and he refers to the glories 
awaiting those who love the Lord (Joel King Papers, Duke University). 

Among the students at the Louisburg Female Academy in 1818, 
Matthew Davis lists Sarah Helen King and Elizabeth Toole as 
granddaughters of Rev. John King. "Miss King married the late Robert 
J. Shaw, a very successful merchant in his day, and the White, Davis, 
and Crenshaw families of Louisburg are her descendants, the wife of 


the late Judge Davis of the North Carolina Supreme Court being her 
daughter. Miss Toole married William Robards, a wealthy farmer, and 
moved to the Mississippi valley many years ago . . . her only living 
descendant, Mrs. Mary E. Terry, now lives in New Orleans." 

As for Louisburg, Mabel Davis wrote that "the Kings of this place 
are all descended from" John King. Louise Perry gives her own line of 
descent: John King "was the father of Joel King, who was the father of 
Benjamin King, who was the father of John King, who was the father 
of James King, who was the father of Martha King, who is the mother 
of me" ( Wilkerson/Perry, p. 15). Matthew Davis reported that in 1902 
King's "great-grandson and namesake ... is one of Louisburg's 
prosperous merchants"; further, John King "is represented in the 
North Carolina Conference in the person of a great-grandson, who is 
now serving his third year on the Warrenton Circuit." "Among his 
descendants there has always been a Dr. King, and at present there are 
two, one each in Louisburg and Warrenton." 

Finally, the Prospect Church, founded in 1841 and located on 
Highway 39 two miles south of the Green Hill home, was rededicated 
in 1939 as the Hill-King Memorial Methodist Church, honoring 
Green Hill and John King as the founding fathers of Methodism in the 

The long road from Leicestershire to North Carolina began in a 
country in need of economic and spiritual reform. It is not possible to 
know with certainty whether John King was significandy moved by the 
needs of the England of his time, but it is clear that John Wesley was, 
and there can be no question that the course of King's life was altered 
when he heard Wesley preach. And the great new period of English 
literature that began about the time of John King's death had as its 
themes empathy with humble people and a new pattern of emotional 
response to nature and to experience; its central figures, Wordsworth 
and Coleridge, were born at about the time King moved to America. 
However, the 18th-century precursers of these writers who signalled 
major change in England were, among others, the pre-Romantic poets 
James Thompson and Edward Young. Their works were among the 
books listed in John King's will. And it is worth noting that also listed 
was a work of that great inspirer of revolutions, Thomas Paine. 

In his native Leicestershire, John King may have come of that class 
of English landowners known as the squirearchy. The English country 
squire, described as the "master of all he suveyed," could have been the 
source of the self-will in King's personality. But in response to a cultural 
undercurrent of his time he empathized with the less privileged people 
of 18th-century England and adopted the Methodist path toward 
spiritual rebirth. 



(Encyclopedias of Methodism are generous in summary accounts of John King. 
These are listed in the Sources even if not cited in the text.) 

Allen, John Edward. "Dr. John King, Pioneer of American Methodism." 
Mimeographed genealogical data researched 1960-1980. Warrenton NC. Allen quotes 
these incidents from Pauline Hill (Mrs. John) Brooks, "Unpublished Incidents in the 
Life of Rev. John King, M.D., A Methodist Pioneer," Nashville TN, The Christian 
Advocate, 15 May 1902. Brooks was a great-granddaughter of John King, Allen a 
great-great-great grandson. These stories about King were probably told to Brooks by 
her great-uncle Joel King, who lived in Louisburg until his death in 1863. 

Alumni Oxonienses, II. The Members of the University of Oxford, 1715-1886. 
Oxford: James Parker & Co., 1891. 

Asbury, Francis. The Journals and Letters of Francis Asbury. Ed. Elmer T. Clark et 
al. Nashville TN: Abingdon, 1958. 3 vols. 

Barclay, Wade Crawford. History of Methodist Missions, Vol. I. Nashville TN: 
Abingdon, 1949. 

Bennett, William W '. Memorials of Methodism in Virginia 1772-1829. Published by 
the author, 1871. 

Carroll, Grady L. E. Francis Asbury in North Carolina. Nashville TN: Parthenon, 

Clark, Walter, Ed. Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, XXIV. Goldsboro, 
NC: Nash Brothers, 1905. 

Davis, Edward Hill. Historical Sketches of Franklin County. Raleigh NC: Edwards 
and Broughton, 1948 (privately printed). 

Davis, Edward Hill. "John King: Pioneer, Physician, Preacher, Patriot. "Methodist 
Quarterly Review, LXXVII: 3 (July 1928), 435-448. 

Davis, Mabel I. "Louisburg and Methodism," The Franklin Times, Louisburg NC, 
June 13, 1919. 

Davis, Matthew S. "Important History of Persons and Matters Connected with 
the Louisburg Female College . . .," The Franklin Times, Louisburg NC, February 21, 

Dictionary of Evangelical Biography , ed. Donald M. Lewis. "John King," by Charles 
Yrigoyen, Jr. Cambridge MA.: Blackwell Publishers, 1995. 

Dromgoole, Edward. Letters. Southern Historical Collection, #230, Wilson 
Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Grissom, W. C. History of Methodism in North Carolina from 1772 to the Present 
Time, I. Nashville TN: Methodist Episcopal Publishing House, 1905. 

Harmon, Nolan B., Gen. Ed. Encyclopedia of World Methodism. Nashville TN: 
United Methodist Publishing House, 1974. 


King, Joel, Papers of. Manuscript Department, Special Collections Library of 
Duke University. 

Lee, Jesse. Short History of the Methodists in the United States of America. Baltimore: 
Magill and Clime, 1810. Rpt. Rutland VT: Academy Books, 1974. 

Malone, E. T. "Hill, Green, Jr.," in William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North 
Carolina Biography. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. 

Maser, Frederick E. The Dramatic Story of Early American Methodism. Nashville 
TN: Abingdon, 1965. 

McTyeire, Holland N. ^4 History of Methodism. Nashville TN: Southern Methodist 
Publishing House, 1885. 

Minutes ofthe Methodist Conferences, Annually held in America from 1773to 1813. . . 
. New York: Daniel Hitt, 1813, rpt. Swainsboro GA: Magnolia Press, 1983. 

Moore, Matthew H. Sketches ofthe Pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina and 
Virginia. Nashville TN: Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1884. 

Pearson, Kenneth N. "Haggerty, John." Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical 
Biography 1730-1860, 1. Cambridge MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1995. 

Pilmore, Joseph. The Journal of Joseph Pilmore, Methodist Itinerant. Ed. by 
Frederick E. Maser and Howard T. Maag. Philadelphia: Message Publishing 
Company, 1969. 

Powell, William S., ed. Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. Chapel Hill NC: 
University of North Carolina Press, 1988. 

Powell, William S. North Carolina through Four Centuries. Chapel Hill NC: 
University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 

Rogal, Samuel J. A Biographical Dictionary of 18th Century Methodism, III. 
LewistonNY, 1997. 

Semmel, Bernard. The Methodist Revolution. New York: Basic Books, 1973. 

Simpson, Matthew, ed. Cyclopedia of Methodism. Philadelphia: Everts & Stewart, 

Smith, Claiborne T. "Seawell, Benjamin." In William S. Powell, ed. Dictionary of 
North Carolina Biography ', vol 5. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 

Stevens, Abel. History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of 
America. New York: Carlton & Lanahan, 1864. 

Sweet, William Warren. Methodism in America. Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury 
Press, 1933. 

Wearmouth, Robert F. Methodism and the Common People ofthe 18th Century. 
London: Epworth Press, 1945. 

Wesley, John. The Letters ofthe Rev. John Wesley. John Telford, ed., V, 232. 
London: Epworth Press, 1931. Rpt. 1960. 


Wesley, John. The Works of John Wesley. 3d ed. Vol. 12, p. 331. Grand Rapids, 
Mich: Baker Books, 1996. Rpt. from 1872 ed., London: Wesley Methodist Book 

Wilkerson/Perry, Louise. "Rev. John King, M.D." Unpublished Seminar Paper, 
School of Library Science, East Carolina University, 1975. 19 pp. Copy of typescript 
supplied through kindness of Myrtle Mae (Mrs. John) King of Louisburg. Partially 
printed in George-Anne Willard, ed. Franklin County Sketchbook, Louisburg/Franklin 
County Bicentenary Committee, 1982. 

Willard, George-Anne. "Proud Celebrations of Franklin County's Past." Franklin 
County Sketchbook, ed. George-Anne Willard. Publication of the Franklin 
County-Louisburg Bicentenary Committee, 1982. 

The Layman's Experience 

Societies, Bands, and Classes. The layman whose church was not a 
"station" with a preacher assigned to it and who travelled for miles 
sometimes to hear a sermon was not without a Methodist group to 
belong to. Societies, bands, and classes brought Methodists together in 
small groups for worship. Jesse Lee, before he became a preacher 
himself, was such a layman. When Lee worked on the estate of Gabriel 
Long in Halifax County, beginning in late 1777 or early 1778, he 
"united with the class" in the neighborhood as soon as he was settled in 
his new residence. He was quite "familiar with the exercises of the 
class-room, their revivifying influence upon the moral nature" (Leroy 
Lee, pp. 57-59). They encouraged the habit of speaking and served as 
"nurseries for the ministry." Early in 1778 he was appointed class leader 
by William Glendenning, rider of the Roanoke Circuit, of which 
Halifax County was part. "When in the class, I frequendy wept much 
while I was talking to the people about the welfare of their souls" 
(Leroy Lee, p. 60). At the same time, he wrote, he held prayer meetings 
in other societies. 

According to the system developed by John Wesley in England, a 
Methodist was a member of the Church of England and belonged to 
one of its congregations. The society, however, was specifically 
Methodist, a group of members of the congregation who shared 
Wesley's concern for a way of life that would ensure salvation. In 
Asbury's figure of speech for the relationship between the two, the 
congregation was the "outer court" and the society the "inner court" 
(Bucke,p. 115). 

Inside the society was the band, a group of five to ten members 
concerned to care for the sick and needy and watch over each other 
(Ayling, p. 132). The leader of a band was chosen by lot rather than 
election or appointment, the element of chance ensuring God's 


responsibility for the selection (p. 115). Membership cards were 
issued, renewable quarterly. Those breaking the rules were expelled 
after three warnings. Every fourth Saturday was a day of intercession, 
and "on Sunday evening eight days following there was a three -hour 
love-feast (in imitation of the primitive Christian agape), a simple 
communal meal taken after celebration of the Lord's Supper and in 
token of the brotherhood of believers" (p. 96). Monetary contributions 
were expected, and the steward was the collector; the steward 
sometimes volunteered to bring the total collection up to a certain 
amount if some in the band were unable to contribute. 

Jesse Lee in his history (pp. 33-56) gives the "Rules of the Band 
Societies, Drawn up December 25, 1738," with a similar set drawn up 
on December 25, 1744. The term band society itself indicates that 
these groups were being modified and combined. The rules refer to the 
weaknesses and problems of the members and set out to offer the 
members concern and attention. Lee defines a band as three to five true 
believers. "All must be men, or all women; and all married or all single." 
The principal activity was confession of faults and prayer for one 
another. Members were admitted according to their answers to 
questions concerning forgiveness of their sins, peace with God through 
Christ, and "desire to be told of their faults," a process in which others 
might "cut to the quick, and search your heart to the bottom." Among 
other proscriptions, members were not to consume "spiritous liquor," 
to pawn anything, to wear "needless ornaments," or to use snuff or 

The class, in Ayling's description, consisted of twelve persons who 
met weekly for prayer, worship, and communal confession (p. 175). 
The class rapidly became more important than the band; indeed, in 
Jesse Lee's journal no reference is made to the band in the Roanoke 
Circuit. In the activity of these groups the lay preachers discovered and 
revealed themselves and received training. In Britain the lay preachers 
were persons for whom clerical training was out of reach; they were the 
sons of yeomen, tradesmen, small manufacturers, or craftsmen (Ayling, 
p. 134). Francis Asbury's father was gardener for two wealthy families. 

Viewed from above, as Asbury organized the American Methodist 
groups, the structure was "the bishop first, then the elder, the preacher 
in charge, the junior preacher, the local preacher, the class leader; there 
was supervision from the top to the bottom" (Smith, p. 92). 

Ayling observes that the experience of the converted sinner — who 
was trained in the class, chosen by lot to be its leader, and appointed a 
lay preacher — resembled that of John Bunyan a century earlier in 
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (p. 177). Indeed, the pattern of 
conversion, as experienced by Jesse Lee, strongly resembled that 
described in that most popular of early novels, Bunyan's Pilgrim's 


Progress. Jesse Lee, alone in the field with his burden of sin and calling 
for God's help, experienced a conversion patterned after that of 
Pilgrim. In the Methodist organization, one received the news of the 
possibility of salvation, perhaps from a sermon or from a class member, 
one examined one's soul and suffered for its sinfulness, and then one 
had the relieving experience of dropping the burden of sin. The process 
could take place in a religious gathering or, as in Jesse Lee's case, in 
solitude. Emotional response took various forms: Pilmore on his first 
trip to North Carolina preached to a large congregation of which 
"Several of the people were so affected that they fainted away and were 
as solemn as death" (Pilmore, p. 169). 

Society and class were persisting realities on the American scene. 
Asbury in 1780, on his first trip to North Carolina, in the Roanoke 
River area probably in Halifax County, "spoke plainly to about eighty 
people . . . met class. ..." Then at Nutbush he "found a broken society." 
Then he "rode home with Dr. King; his wife was in Society" (Grissom, 
p. 87). Even in 1816, the Methodist Church now separate from the 
Church of England since 1784, on his last journey, near Raleigh in 
February, the month before his death, he spoke to the society (in the 
home of the eldest son of Dr. John King). 

Finally, on the Tar River Circuit in 1841, those attending the 
Fourth Quarterly meeting of the Circuit on 28 August were identified 
as preachers (ordained) or as lay preachers and then as elders. Then 
came class leaders, then stewards, four in each category (Hill/Davis 


Ayling, Stanley E.John Wesley. Nashville TN: Abingdon, 1979. First American 

Bucke, Emory S., General Editor. The History of American Methodism, I. Nashville 
TN: Abingdon, 1964. Ch. 3, "Methodism in Colonial America," by Arthur Bruce 
Moss, Sees. 3-9. 

Grissom, W. C. History of Methodism in North Carolina from 1772 to the Present 
Time, I. Nashville TN: Methodist Episcopal Publishing House, 1905. 

Hill/Davis Collection (#4393). Manuscript Collection of the Southern Historical 
Collection. Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Lee, Jesse. Short History of the Methodists in the United States of America. Baltimore: 
Magill and Clime, 1810. Rpt. Rutland VT: Academy Books, 1974. 

Lee, Leroy M. Life and Times of the Reverend Jesse Lee. Charleston SC: John Early, 


Pilmore, Joseph. The Journal of Joseph Pilmore, Methodist Itinerant. Ed. by 
Frederick E. Maser and Howard T. Maag. Philadelphia: Message Publishing 
Company, 1969. 

Smith, George G. Life and Labors of Francis Asbury, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in America. Nashville TN: Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church South, 1896. 

Meeting Houses and Church Buildings. Hearing sermons in 
dwellings and barns, under trees, and in open fields was a familiar 
experience to the early Methodist. Then came the log chapel. Asbury 
described "our first preaching house," the first Bush Forest Chapel, 
built in 1769 six miles from Aberdeen Maryland (Journals, I, p. 56; and 
editor's note). "The house had no windows or doors; the weather was 
very cold: so that my heart pitied the people when I saw them so 
exposed. Putting a handkerchief over my head, I preached, and after an 
hour's intermission (people waiting all the time in the cold) I preached 
again." On June 23, 1780, he "preached at Nutbush Creek Chapel (a 
little log house, about twenty- five feet long and twenty wide) . . ." 
(Carroll, p. 34). 

Well into the 19th century the various denominations shared 
church buildings where they had none of their own. In Louisburg, 
several congregations held services in a building on the Franklinton 
Road that has come down under the names of Old Portridge, the 
Portage, Poythress, and Purtuage (House, p. 4; Davis, pp. 108, 290). 
What is known of this building and of the other early structures has 
come from writers who in some cases reported verbal tradition. They 
are Dr. Daniel T. Smith wick, Pauline Hill (Mrs. John) Brooks, 
Margaret Hicks (Mrs. Cary) Howard, and E. H. Davis. Some 
information comes from deeds in the Franklin County Courthouse. 

Dr. D. T. Smithwick (1867-1956), Franklin County historian in 
1938, wrote that two Episcopal churches were erected in this section in 
the mid- 18th century: one was Banks Chapel near Wilton, the other the 
Poythress Chapel ("Old Portridge") two or three miles from Louisburg 
on the Franklinton Road. "Methodists in the Louisburg community 
used old Poythress chapel for their early meeting place. It has been 
considered the mother of the Louisburg Methodist church" (p. 135). 
However, Smithwick continued, Poythress was too small for the 
Methodist Conference of 1785, which was held at the home of Green 
Hill. Davis (p. 290) maintains that Poythress was originally the Church 
of England station of Parson Charles Cupples. It would seem to have 
taken its name from the Poythress family living in the area. The notable 


Methodist figure of that name was the Virginian Francis Poythress, 
who was appointed to the North Carolina Circuit in 1776. 

An account of an "old-time log-meeting-house" is included in a 
"funny incident" in Whi taker's Reminiscences. R. H. Whi taker 
published his reminiscences in 1905; many of them are of antebellum 
days. Although dates are rare in this work, certain memories clearly 
come from the first half of the 19th century, perhaps early in that era. 
One cold winter day, when the warmest place about the meeting-house 
was "outside, on the sunny side of the house," the "circuit preacher" 
was late arriving; the congregation waited outside; inside, "the wind 
not only came through the cracks between the logs, but through the 
floor as well." In the absence of the regular preacher, a local preacher, 
Brother Jones, was asked to preach. He "promptly made his way up 
into the old-fashioned, barrel-like pulpit. As soon as he sat down, he 
began to sing, 'How Firm a Foundation,' and the congregation, with 
chattering teeth followed him through the seven stanzas." The service 
was two and a half hours long, and the sermon, delivered in a voice that 
could be heard half a mile, was generally agreed to be a great sermon. 
Outside in the sunshine, the congregation rejected the suggestion that 
they install a stove and "chattered and shivered until they made up 
money enough to build a new church" (Whitaker, pp. 295-296). 

The old log meeting houses, Whitaker continues, were 
uncomfortable in summer as well. Red-headed scorpions would 
sometimes appear on the floor, and scare the women. "In fact, the cry of 
fire wouldn't run a crowd of women out of a church quicker than one 
little fleet-footed, red-headed scorpion, prancing about under the 
benches," suggesting that Whitaker had read Mark Twain. He was glad 
that the old log meeting-house was gone; cc Now, if we could keep the 
dogs out of our new churches, we'd be all right" (p. 297). 

A meeting house of one or the other of the two generations of such 
structures described by Whitaker is referred to in a legal document of 
1802. A Franklin County deed (29 September, 1802; Book 11, p. 285) 
between Samson Gilliam, grantor, and five men (John Berry, Daniel 
Shine, Joshua Abernathy, Richard Swanson, and Jeremiah Dossry) 
conveys "three-fourths of an acre of ground, together with all and 
singular the house, woods, waters, ways, privileges and appurtenances 
thereto belonging or in any wise appertaining" for "the use of the 
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of 
America. . . ." The land was located on the east side of "the Branch," 
conceivably the branch running into the Tar indicated on the 1779 map 
of Louisburg town plats. But since other sales by Samson Gilliam refer 
to land on Cypress and Red Bud Creeks, the one northwest from 
Stallings Crossroads and the other northeast, it is probable that this 
sale, too, is in that area (Book 11, p. 283; Book 3, p. 150). Had the 


branch referred to been the one that then ran into the Tar near the end 
of Elm Street, this might have been the first Methodist church in 
Louisburg; but the Red Bud Creek plot is on one side bounded by a 
line "south down the Branch," probably the Branch of the 1802 church 

Among the trustees buying the land for a nominal six shillings, the 
telling name is that of Daniel Shine, no longer a circuit rider but a 
resident of the Tar River Circuit. Shine became a Methodist circuit 
rider in 1790 and "located" — married and established a household — 
in 1794. At the turn of the century, Daniel Shine was probably the 
leading Methodist in an area from which the establishing elders — 
Green Hill, John King, and Gabriel Long — had departed. 

The deed is of particular interest because it so carefully defines the 
purchasing group. The trustees "shall hold the above mentioned 
property for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in the United States of America, according to the Rules and 
discipline which from time to time may be agreed upon, and adopted 
by the ministers and preachers of the said Church, at their general 
conferences in the United States of America." The trustees are to 
permit "ministers and preachers" "authorized by the said General 
Conference of the said Methodist Episcopal Church . . . and none other 
to preach and expound God's holy word therein." The insistence upon 
use by Methodists alone suggests that the congregation had previously 
shared its church. 

Of further interest is the careful formulation in the deed of rules 
pertaining to church governance, perhaps expressive of a need for a 
legal record of regulations for choosing trustees. If one of the trustees 
dies or ceases to be a member of the church, the "minister or preacher" 
shall call a meeting of the remaining trustees and nominate one or more 
persons to fill the place. Those nominated should be twenty-one years 
of age and should have been members of the church for at least a year. A 
majority vote of the trustees is necessary to elect a trustee, the minister 
casting a tie-breaking vote. The number of trustees must always be five. 

Although Daniel Shine was a local preacher active also in 
Louisburg, this structure did not serve a Louisburg congregation. The 
Samson Gilliam sale is of interest because of its statement of the rules 
pertaining to the election of trustees and because of the evidence of 
Shine's involvement in the churches outside Louisburg. According to a 
report to the Raleigh Star dated 23 June 1810, there were in Franklin 
County six Methodist "houses of religious worship" (Davis, p. 68), but 
they were not named in the article. 

The Louisburg Methodist Church was clearly the buyer in an 1830 
purchase. The deed (Bk. 26, p. 244) shows that Charles A. Hill, 
nephew of Green Hill, sold to the trustees of the Louisburg Methodist 


church on November 16, 1830, for the sum of one dollar, the "lot or 
parcel of ground . . . known in plat of said town as lot number 87 
together with the improvements and privileges thereon and thereto 
belonging." In this case there is no doubt as to which land is referred to. 
On the map, Lot 87 bears the name of die original purchaser, William 
Brickell, guardian of Charles A. Hill after the death of his father 
William Hill. The question remains, however, whether a structure on it 
to be used as a church is referred to in the term "improvements." This 
lot was on the northeast corner of Nash and Elm streets in Louisburg. 
The purchasing trustees are listed as Joel King, William Arendell, John 
Kelly, James Hester, Ricky Furman, Nicholas Massenburg, and 
Washington Branch. The careful provision for the perpetuation of the 
legally designated trustee group approximates that in the 1802 Gilliam 
deed, but in this deed the number of trustees is specified as nine rather 
than five as in the Gilliam deed of 1802. The purchasing trustees, 
however, number only seven; probably an eighth was the seller, 
Charles A. Hill, who was in the 1820s a state senator and headmaster 
first of the Franklin and then of the Midway academy. Again, as in 
1802, the purchase price is nominal, suggesting that the seller may be a 
member of the church and is virtually or actually donating land and 
perhaps a structure to the congregation. The congregation may have 
been using a structure on this land long before they bought the lot. 

The next home of the Louisburg Methodist church is the least well 
documented: it was at the intersection of North Main Street and the 
present (1996) Smoketree Way. Davis (p. 290) writes that the "first 
[Methodist] church in Louisburg . . ., located on the top of the hill at 
West end of Nash Street, . . .stood a wooden structure for several years 
until removed to a site where the Welch residence now [1948] stands in 
the northern outskirts of our present town known then as Lone Oak, 
where Methodist services were held for about a decade" (or perhaps 
two). Of Lone Oak, only a chimney remained in 1996, between Main 
Street and the eastern end of the Louisburg Manor. 

An earlier imprinted document supports Davis's information as to 
the location of the church at Lone Oak. Pauline Hill Brooks 
(1854-1904), wife of a Methodist minister and daughter of Daniel 
Shine Hill, mid- 19th-century trustee of the Louisburg Methodist 
church, wrote a "Sketch of the Methodist Church, South, in 
Louisburg, N. C," dated Salisbury, Oct. 3, 1899. Though the 
manuscript itself has not survived, a copy typed with a few 
emendations probably by Mabel Irwin Davis, niece of Pauline Brooks, 
survived at Green Hill. "The first Methodist Church," she wrote, "was 
built on the hill on Nash Street, and was afterwards sold and the old 
building moved to the place where Mr. Kearney now [1899] lives." A 
note by Mabel Davis states, "Lone Oak is meant, I think." 


A report appended to the minutes of the Fourth Quarterly meeting 
of the Tar River Circuit held at Jerusalem 18 September 1841 surely 
referred to this building, whether in 1841 it was located at Nash and 
Elm or at Lone Oak. According to a committee consisting of Joel King, 
Burwell Baker, Ricky Furman, N.B. Massenburg, D. S. Hill, 
Washington Branch, and William Arendell, there were broken window 
lights, dilapidated window blinds, many decayed shingles, and some 
weatherboarding that needed renailing (Hill/Davis Collection). 

"Lone Oak," so designated in early 20th-century deeds, was indeed 
owned by H. A. Kearney, one of two sheriffs of Franklin County by the 
name of Kearney. His widow, Annie R. Kearney, sold it to Blair Tucker 
in 1930 (Bk. 294, p. 223); Tucker in turn sold it to Mrs. Lina J. Welsh, 
his mother-in law, wife or widow of R. H. Welch, in 1932 (Bk. 306, p. 

In view of the absence of evidence that the church bought land at 
what is now North Main and Smoketree Way, it is possible to assume 
that land use was granted by a member as a site for the church being 
moved from Nash and Elm. Margaret Hicks Howard, 
mid-20th-century historian of the Louisburg church, wrote in her 
notes on the history of the church that the back door of the Lone Oak 
residence, "now owned by the Welches," was the old door of the church 
at Elm and Nash streets. Although her extensive notes nowhere 
acknowledge that the church may once have stood on this lot, her 
information supports the probability. 

On April 22, 1850, however, the church bought a half acre "more 
or less" at the corner of Main and Noble from Margaret C. Patterson 
(Bk. 30, p. 300), old Lot 22 on the original town plat map. On 8 June 
1850, the "Building Committee of the M. E. Church" reported on their 
progress: "The Committee beg leave respectfully to report, that after 
several months delay, & much anxiety & perplexity on the subject, in 
consequence of the small amt. of funds with which they had to operate, 
they at length succeeded in contracting for the building of a brick 
Church for the sum of $1886. This amt. was increased by extra charges 
to the sum of $2039. which was the entire cost of the church up to the 
time when it was received by the Committee." An account of 
complications as to costs and collections follows, and the committee 
members "had to advance a part of the money from their own 
individual funds and borrow the remainder." This was the "first brick 
church," Davis writes (p. 290), a picture of which survives, a 
windowed steeple at the front, the structure temple-form with 
windows tall enough to be virtually floor to ceiling (see The Franklin 
Times Special Hundredth Anniversary Issue, p. 37). On this lot the 
church has now (1996) stood for almost a century and a half. The many 


line changes resulting from purchases and sales of neighboring lots 
have been detailed by Nathan Cole. 

This "first brick church" was replaced in 1900 by the present 
sanctuary. The style is modified Gothic, and an entrance was placed on 
either side of the central pointed arch, a steeple surmounting either 
entrance. The Franklin Times account of the dedication in 1904, when 
the debt was raised, described the sanctuary as seating five hundred. 
Stained-glass windows were a notable feature, their dedications varying 
(see Windows, Ch 4). 

In 1914 a Sunday-school annex with a "ladies' parlor" was 
completed behind the church; A. D. Wilcox was pastor at the time, and 
the architect was M. Stuart Davis, a lifelong member of the 
congregation. Debt on the annex was cleared in 1918 (Howard). This 
building was replaced in 1957 by a new annex with a basement 
fellowship hall and two upper floors for offices and Sunday-school 
rooms. George S. Blount was minister when the work was begun, and 
the fellowship hall was named for him. A Raleigh firm of architects by 
the name of Davis planned the building. 

As for the parsonages, less is known. The first is reported to have 
been on Elm Street, the next on Church Street, the "house next north 
from Ernest Furgurson" (Howard), or, "the house where Mrs. Al Hicks 
now resides" (Johnson, p. 37). This is the house just north of the one 
on the northeast corner of Church and Franklin. With the building of 
the 1850 church on Main and Noble streets, the "old Tar River 
[Circuit] parsonage" on Church Street was rented for the pastor until a 
parsonage closer to the church could be acquired. Such a parsonage was 
built on Main Street beside the church in 1863 (Howard). This 
parsonage had a rear portion known as the pastor's office. In 1896 
(Howard; see p. 148), when it was replaced by a two-storey house in 
the same location, the parsonage and the office were separated and 
moved to Spring Street direcdy behind their earlier location, where 
today (1999) they are well maintained residences (Cottrell). In 1962 a 
new parsonage — the first brick one — was built on the site of the old 
one plus the lot adjoining to the north. The presiding minister at the 
time was Kelly Wilson, Jr. The dedication took place in 1986. 

Purchase of the Egerton/Wynn house and lot behind the church on 
Noble Street was initiated in 1976, and the church-sponsored Yolanda 
Jones Developmental Center moved into the house in 1978. 


Asbury, Francis. The Journals and Letters of Francis Asbury. 3 vols. Ed. Elmer T. 
Clark et al. Nashville TN: Abingdon, 1958. 


Brooks, Pauline Hill (Mrs. John). "A Sketch of the Methodist Church, South, in 
Louisburg, N. C." Typescript, 9 pp. Salisbury NC, 1899. 

Carroll, Grady L. Francis Asbury in North Carolina. Nashville TN: Pantheon, 

Cole, Captain Nathan. "History of the Transactions of the Property of the United 
Methodist Church." Typescript, 12 pages. 1971. 

Cottrell, Linda (Mrs. Jimmy). Scrapbook, "The Louisburg United Methodist 

Davis, Edward Hill. Historical Sketches of Franklin County. Raleigh NC: Edwards 
and Broughton, 1948. Privately printed. 

The Franklin Times, Special 100th Anniversary Issue. Louisburg NC, 1970. 
Hill/Davis Collection (#4393), Manuscript Collection of the Southern Historical 
Collection, Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

House, Jane Ruffin. Communion of Saints: The History of the Episcopal Church in 
Louisburg, North Carolina. Dennisport, MA, 1995. 

Howard, Margaret Hicks (Mrs. Cary). Notes toward a history of the Louisburg 
Methodist Church. (These notes were the source for the Reverend Norwood Jones' 
brief history of the church included in the 1966 Directory.) 

Johnson, Elizabeth. "The Louisburg Methodist Church," The Franklin Times, 
Special 100th Anniversary Issue. Louisburg NC, 1970, p. 37. 

Smithwick, Dr. Daniel T. "Beginnings of Religion in Franklin County" (1938), 
Special 100th Anniversary Issue of The Franklin Times. Louisburg NC, 1970, p. 135. 

Whitaker, R. H. (The Reverend). Whitaker's Reminiscences, Incidents and 
Anecdotes. Raleigh: Edwards and Broughton, 1905. Privately printed. 


Chapter 2 
The Tar River Circuit 

Early Eiders. Four Notable Preachers: Edward Dromgoole. Francis Poythress. 
William Ormond. Daniel Shine. 

Early Riders 

The Methodist church in Louisburg, though it had its own meeting 
house after 1830, did not become a station until 1859; before that, it 
was served not by its own successive ministers but by circuit riders. 
After 1860 there is limited information about the succession of 
ministers, but characterization of many of them is possible. Before 
1860, in many cases the circuit riders come down as names only. Many 
had short careers on the circuits; some of them preached for their entire 
lives, and for these we have obituaries in the Minutes of the 
Conferences. Thanks to the circuit riders and to the local preachers, 
there was a congregation to build or buy a church in 1830. Thanks to 
them, that congregation was intact in 1860 to gain a preacher of its 

A circuit was a territory with boundaries more or less defined. Early 
maps of the North Carolina circuits show a rough definition in the 
north, suggested by parallel boundaries running northwest to 
southeast, probably because they were extensions of Virginia circuits. 
But their southerly limits were originally ill defined. The North 
Carolina territory itself was only crudely mapped (Grill, map, p. 30). 

Norfolk and Petersburg, the first circuits formed in southern 
Virginia, were created in 1773. North Carolina received visits, 
probably unofficial, from preachers on both circuits; and Joseph 
Pilmore preached in Currituck on his way south in 1772. John King 
was assigned to the Norfolk circuit in 1774 and certainly made visits to 
Bute County, North Carolina, where he met the Seawell family, whose 
daughter he married. Petersburg was even closer to Bute County and in 
some sense shared a Masonic lodge with Bute. But Brunswick, which 
became a circuit in 1774, was still closer than Petersburg, lying just 
north of the Virginia line from Halifax County, North Carolina. 

To the Brunswick Circuit between 1774 and 1779 were assigned 
some of the interesting figures of early North Carolina Methodism: in 
1774, while John King was in Norfolk, John Wade, Isaac Rollings, and 


Samuel Spragg; in 1775, when Francis Asbury himself was in Norfolk, 
George Shadford, Robert Lindsay, Edward Dromgoole, Robert 
Williams, and William Glendenning; in 1776, George Shadford, 
William Duke, and William Glendenning. 

In 1776, the first year in which "Carolina" was designated as a 
circuit, the preachers assigned to North Carolina were Edward 
Dromgoole, Francis Poythress, and Isham Tatum. The following year 
the "North Carolina" circuit received the attention of John King, John 
Dickins, Lee Roy Cole, and Edward Pride. Brunswick in the same year 
had three riders (William Watters, Freeborn Garrettson, and John 
Tunnell). In 1778 "North Carolina" became "Roan-Oak," with 
William Glendenning assigned to it, and in 1779 there are three circuits 
in North Carolina: tc New-Hope," "Tar-River," and "Roan-Oak." The 
preachers assigned to these three circuits were Andrew Yeargan and 
William Moore; John Dickins and Henry Willis; and Reuben Ellis and 
John Sigman. 

The three circuits thus designated were not bounded by rivers but 
were associated with them. The Roanoke Circuit occupied the 
northeastern corner of the state; its southwestern boundary followed 
the Roanoke River roughly to the Albemarle Sound, and the circuit 
boundary then moved northeast to Currituck. Edenton was in the 
Roanoke Circuit. The Tar River flowed roughly down the middle of the 
Tar River Circuit to the Pamlico Sound. But it also included the Neuse 
River and extended west of the subsequent site of Raleigh, near Joel 
Lane's land. Washington, Bath, New Bern, and Beaufort were the 
outlying and more southerly towns of the Tar River circuit. The New 
Hope Circuit lay slightly west of the future site of Raleigh and included 
the future site of Greensboro. The Haw and the Cape Fear rivers ran 
down its center, and Wilmington was at its most southerly point (map 
in Clark, p. 23.) 

In 1779, Andrew Yeargan and William Moore were assigned to the 
Tar River Circuit, which had 455 members "in society." In the 
following year, James O'Kelly, who would later bring about the 
denomination's first schism, travelled the circuit. In 1781, Henry 
Ogburn and John Cooper, with 358 members; in 1782, Micaijah 
Debruler and Adam Cloud, with the numbers still falling, to 300; in 
1783, Ira Ellis and Joshua Worley (332). 

From 1784 until 1800 the list is made up of the following names: 
William Cannon and Henry Jones; Thomas Humphries and Isaac 
Smith; Thomas Anderson and Micaijah Tracy; Thomas Bowen and 
Thomas Weatherford; Henry Merritt, William Moss, and Daniel 
Locke tt; Charles Hardy, Micaijah Tracy, and Myles Smith; Mark 
Whitaker and Benjamin Carter; Morris Howe and William Ormond; 
John Pace, E. Humphrey, and P. Sands; Joshua Cannon and C. Carlisle 


L. Dyson; Jonathan Bird, A. Kinsey, and T. Moon; Daniel Hall and 
Samuel Ansley; Samuel S. Steward and Jeremiah Munday; John Ray 
and Archer Moody; William Bellamy and Stephen Ellis; John Ray; 
William Ormond and John Evans. 

Through the 1780s and 1790s there were steady additions to this 
list of circuits: Yadkin, Mecklenburg, Salisbury, Marsh, Caswell, 
Wilmington, Halifax, Guilford, Holstein, Bladen, French Broad, 
Greenbrier, Anson, Bertie, West New River, East New River, 
Contentnea, Catawba, Washington, etc. 

The circuit rider has become something of a romantic figure from 
the early, hard days of the Methodist ministry. His prototype is surely 
John Wesley himself, who yearly visited the far-flung outposts of the 
Methodist flock in Britain. In America the tradition persisted in 
Strawbridge, Williams, King, and many others; but the ideal and 
exemplary circuit rider was Francis Asbury himself, the "prophet of the 
long road," the man who never had a home. The difficulty of the rider's 
life concerned Asbury; if most of the ministers located at the time of 
marriage, the Methodist ministry would be perpetually a young group, 
and experienced preachers would be virtually lacking. Asbury 
advocated building houses in the circuits for the wives of young 
ministers and providing them with a livelihood (Clark, p. 16). With 
land abundant and opportunity not lacking for location, however, 
relatively few of the preachers lived out their lives on the job, as Asbury 

At times the circuit rider was the bringer of order, as Asbury was in 
Wilmington, North Carolina, "where we had merry, singing, drunken 
raftsmen; to their merriment I soon put a stop. I felt the power of the 
devil there" (Carroll, p. 69). At other times the travelling preacher 
suffered at the hands of the mob, as when John King's table was 
overturned in Baltimore and when Freeborn Garrettson was harrassed 
and beaten in Maryland and then narrowly escaped being jailed as the 
culprit (Norwood, pp. 125-126). Similarly, Finley reported an attack 
on a camp meeting by "twenty lewd fellows of the baser sort, who came 
upon the ground intoxicated, and had vowed they would break up the 
meeting" (Norwood, pp. 252-253). 

The rapid development of the northeastern quarter of North 
Carolina in the 1770s is apparent in the multiplication of circuits and of 
preachers assigned to them. One of these circuit riders, Edward 
Dromgoole, writing in 1822, described the period of expansion during 
and after the Revolution. "The first great revival I was witness of was in 
Virginia and North Carolina the beginning of the revolutionary war, 
many hundreds were converted and the bounds of the work gready 
enlarged so that from one circuit only we had several, and from having 
four or five preachers in the circuit we had a number raised who were 


no disgrace to Methodism, among these were Reuben Ellis, Henry 
Willis, John Dickins, Richard Ivey. . . " (Cotten, Dromgoole papers). 
The second great revival that he witnessed in the South, he continued, 
"began in the year 1787 when John Easter was appointed to the 
Brunswick Circuit," and at a later time Alexander McCaine and John 
Early were notable on the revival front. 

John Wesley himself exclaimed at the steady growth of Methodism 
in the area during the Revolution. In a letter to Edward Dromgoole 
dated Bristol, Sept. 17, 1783, he wrote, "One would have imagined, 
that the 'fell monster war,' would have utterly destroyed the work of 
God. So it has done in all ages and countries: So it did in Scotland a few 
years ago. But that his work should increase at such a Season, was never 
heard of before! It is plain God has wrought a new thing in the Earth..." 
(Cotten Collection). 

In the more limited bounds of the Tar River Circuit, one of the 
three new circuits referred to by Dromgoole, participants in the revivals 
of the 1770s and 1780s included Dromgoole himself, with Richard 
Wright, Robert Williams, John King, George Shadford, William 
Glendenning, Francis Poythress, Jesse Lee, Isham Tatum, John 
Dickins, LeRoy Cole, James O'Kelly, William Ormond, Daniel Hall, 
and Daniel Shine. 

The Tar River Circuit has the distinction of a favorable description 
by Asbury On March 11,1 784, Asbury wrote in his journal that he had 
ridden to "Long's," probably Gabriel Long's in Halifax County but 
possibly his home in Franklin. "I have had great times in Tar River 
circuit; the congregations have been large and living, more so than in 
any circuit I have passed through since I crossed the Potomac" (Carroll, 
p. 63). These congregations included the Louisburg Methodists. 
Again, in January 1789, he wrote, "The Lord has begun to work on 
Sandy Creek, in Franklin County, where twenty souls have been lately 
brought to God" (Carroll, p. 91). 

Information concerning the careers of certain of the riders of the 
Tar River Circuit has come down in the histories of Methodism in the 
area, in manuscript collections, and in family tradition. Although no 
one of them was minister at the not-yet-existent Methodist Episcopal 
Church in Louisburg, they are exemplary of the preachers whom the 
people of Louisburg and Franklin County, who would later create that 
church, heard, acknowledged in some degree as spiritual leaders, and 
accepted as defining for them the meaning and value of the Methodist 
movement. Dromgoole is important because of his not completely 
recognized significance to the movement as a whole and because of the 
virtually untapped wealth of the Dromgoole Collection. His work in 
North Carolina was extensive; it is not of ultimate significance that he 
settled across the border in Virginia. Francis Poythress, a Virginian 


also, was active in several states, but he served Franklin County both as 
circuit rider admitted on trial and as presiding elder. William Ormond 
was a native North Carolinian associated with Kinston, although he 
died while in service in Virginia. And Daniel Shine, from Jones 
County, North Carolina, settled in Louisburg and left his name in 
Green Hill's family. Fortunately for the researcher, the papers of both 
Ormond and Shine are preserved in the Duke manuscript collection. 
Dromgoole and Poythress are mentioned frequently and significantiy 
in Asbury's journal, and such mention itself confers a certain 

Four Notable Preachers 

Edward Dromgoole. Dromgoole immigrated from Sligo, Ireland, 
where the place of origin of his family name is the modern 
Dromgoolestown in County Louth (MacLysaght), halfway between 
Dublin and Belfast. He was one of many Irishmen whom Sweet calls 
the true founders of American Methodism (p. 49). When he located in 
1786, it was not in North Carolina but in "old Brunswick" (Virginia), 
where he lived for the rest of his life (Bennett, p. 100). Nevertheless, he 
was one of the three first appointees to the Carolina circuit who 
preached in Bute County and the not-yet-founded Louisburg. 

Dromgoole was converted to Methodism in his native land and 
"read a recantation in a Catholic church at Sligo" (Clark, p. 16), an act 
which probably cut him off from his family thenceforth. (Bennett, on 
the other hand, maintains that he was converted to Methodism in 
Baltimore soon after immigration [p. 100]). There are no letters from 
his family in Ireland in the Dromgoole file of the Southern Historical 
Collection. Arriving in America in 1770, he settled near Baltimore 
where, from 1770, John King, was active and, even earlier, Robert 
Strawbridge and Robert Williams, both of whom were Irish. 
Strawbridge drew him into the ministry, and he was admitted on trial in 
1774 and appointed to Baltimore in the same year. He was assigned to 
Brunswick Circuit in 1775 and to Carolina in 1776. Two subsequent 
appointments were in Virginia (Amelia in 1777 and Sussex in 1778). 
Then he desisted from travel for an interval, having no regular 
appointment from 1779 to 1782. 

Bruce Cotten, the collector and donor of the Dromgoole papers, 
offers an explanation for the interval. "Mr. Dromgoole writing in 1805 
says that 'on March 7th 1777 1 was married into a respectable family in 
Virginia.' He was then 27 years old and she 24." Cotten speculates as to 
her family. "Both her brothers George and Isaac Rowe Walton made 


their marks." She was, Cotten believes, a double first cousin of "George 
Walton the signer" (of the Declaration of Independence). 

Droomgoole returned, according to Clark (p. 17), to form a new 
circuit in the Edenton area of North Carolina in 1782. Clark writes that 
he was received kindly there by the Anglican minister Charles Pettigrew 
and preached in various spots in the new circuit. In 1785 he was again 
in Brunswick, having figured prominently in the 1784 Christmas 
Conference in Baltimore at which the Methodist Episcopal Church was 
organized (Clark, p. 16). In 1780, however, Dromgoole had joined 
Asbury in opposing separation from the Anglican church (Asbury, I, 
349). On Septemer 12, 1780, Asbury wrote that Dromgoole, whom 
he had just seen in Virginia, had "showed me more respect than is due 
me" (Asbury, I, 378). 

Dromgoole obviously had a certain significance among Methodist 
leaders of the time. The Dromgoole letters in the Southern Historical 
Collection were written by many of the notable Methodists in his area: 
Phillip Bruce, Edward Cannon, John Dickins, John Easter, John Ellis, 
Devereux Jarratt, Jesse Lee, and others. The collection also contains 
three letters from Francis Asbury and one from John Wesley, quoted 
above. The collector, Bruce Cotten, Chief of Military Intelligence for 
the General Staff in World War I and a Dromgoole descendant, in 1922 
rescued the collection from "Canaan," the home of several generations 
of Dromgooles in Brunswick County, Virginia. 

The sources of Cotten's impressions of Dromgoole may be largely 
oral and traditional. They were written in 1922 in a letter to a relative 
who was also a descendant of Dromgoole, and the information 
contained in the letter is undocumented. Cotten wrote of Dromgoole, 
"He had of course that gloomy outlook on life, peculiar to the 
Methodists of that period. The saving of the soul being the principal 
object of life and a dreadfully difficult and laborious thing it was too 
from their standpoint." (The Cottens were Episcopalians.) "Mr. D. 
wrote an excellent hand, was extensively read and well educated, 
probably at Dublin College. . . . [He] was an excellent business man and 
died rich for those times. The silver watch that you have was left by him 
to his son Edward, also the bottles that Mother has at Cottendale [the 
19th-century Cotten plantation in Pitt County NC] are described in his 
will and left to his son George." 

Clearly, Cotten continues, Dromgoole "stood high in Methodist 
affairs. He rode the countryside saving souls." So much, in an 
Episcopal view, for the circuit rider. As to Dromgoole's person, "He 
wore a wig, rouged his cheeks, and carried a jug of rum dangling from 
the pommel of his saddle. He also used snuff and wore a corset. All of 
which proves that he was a gentleman!" 


Dromgoole's son George Coke Dromgoole attended the 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served in Congress 
from 1835-1841 and 1843-1847. His son Edward lived in Halifax 
County, North Carolina, at some time in the 1820s, but had returned 
to Brunswick County Virginia by the early 1830s. A daughter of 
Edward Drumgoole Senior married a Sims and became an ancestor of 
the Cotten family of Pitt County 

It seems clear that the facts of Dromgoole's life vary with the 
source. The Bruce Cotten Collection of Dromgoole papers contains 
also a transcription entitled "Biography [of Edward Dromgoole] Taken 
from a Public Document." According to this document, he was born in 
1751 in Sligo, Connaught, to a poor family and trained as a linen 
weaver. He immigrated to Philadelphia in 1772 (rather than 1770) and 
settled in Baltimore, where he lived and worked with John Haggerty a 
tailor. The family still has the thimble he used as a tailor. (If Dromgoole 
arrived in Baltimore as late as 1772, John Haggerty had probably 
already at that time been converted by John King. Haggerty became an 
itinerant in 1779 and was ordained deacon at the Christmas 
Conference in 1784. He located in Virginia in 1793 [Asbury, ed. note, 
I, p. 194]. The collection also includes a letter from Sarah Haggerty, his 
widow, a pious and literate lady) 

According to the "Public Document," Dromgoole started 
preaching in 1774, first in Maryland, and then in Virginia. He took the 
oath of allegiance to the new state of Virginia with his friend Robert 
Jones in Sussex County, Virginia. He was preaching near Halifax, 
North Carolina, when the Declaration of Independence, just accepted 
at Philadelphia, arrived in Halifax. He was asked to read it to his 
congregation, and he did so, "somewhat reluctantly." He married 
Rebecca Walton of Brunswick County and died in 1835 at the age of 
eighty-four. The writer of the Public Document reveals his orientation 
toward his information in the statement, "Of such are the nobility of 
America. The class who prefer to weave, sew, and plough, rather than 
gamble or live in idleness, are the bone and sinew of free institutions." 

A chapel in Brunswick County was named for Dromgoole, and the 
Virginia Conference for 1801 was held there (Bennett, p. 388). 
Preachers and laymen of the Tar River Circuit, including Louisburg, 
would probably have been there, in view of the fact that Tar River as 
soon afterward as 1807 was placed in the New Bern District of the 
Virginia Conference (Grill, p. 33). The building was, according to 
Clark, earlier and later called by different names, for example, 
Dromyrick, for both the Dromgoole and the Myrick families. 

In 1813 Dromgoole wrote to Philip Gatch, "My five oldest 
children are professors [of Methodism], and in [a Methodist] society. 
... Two of my sons are preachers" (Bennett, p. 100). Bennett quotes the 


Rev. Benjamin Devaney, who met Dromgoole at a camp meeting in 
North Carolina during the period when Dromgoole was active as a 
local preacher. "Mr. Dromgoole . . . was plain in his dress, gende and 
unassuming in his deportment, [and] of deep piety. . . . the 
embodiment of a primitive Methodist preacher. When he entered the 
stand to preach, he very deliberately put off his coat, and ... his 
neck-cloth, which was nothing unusual with the old preachers of that 
day. . . . He commenced by saying, '. . . You recollect about thirty years 
ago, there was a young man who travelled here by the name of Edward 
Dromgoole; I am the man." 5 Devaney continued, "The power of God 
was the burden of his theme, and when, by the force of his Irish 
eloquence, he carried us in imagination to the place 'where the worm 
dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,' it was awfully sublime, it was 
beyond description. . . . The copious flow of tears, and the awful peals 
of his voice, . . . produced the most thrilling effect that I had ever 
witnessed. There was not a dry eye among the hundreds who listened 
to him on that occasion" (Bennett, p. 100-101). 

Writing in 1822 a letter addressed to "Dear Brethren," Dromgoole 
recounts with pride and fondness his wide acquaintance with the 
Methodist preachers of the eighteenth century. "I have been acquainted 
with all the preachers who came from Britain to America except Mr. 
Pilmore, but more intimately acquainted with Messrs Asbury, Rankin, 
Shadford, Coke, King, and Whatcoat. . . . With several of the first 
preachers raised in America I was acquainted, such as Messrs Watters, 
Gatch, Ruff, Duke, Spragg, Glendenning. . . ." 

A memorial service was held at Dromgoole's home, "Canaan," in 
1974, the program of which is in the Southern Historical Collection at 
the University of North Carolina. 

Frances Poythress (1732-1810). Poythress was, according to all his 
biographers, a Virginian of aristocratic background. His French 
ancestor was a Huguenot who fled to England in the 16th century to 
escape religious persecution in France. From the early 17th century 
there appears to have been in Virginia a succession of fathers and sons 
by the name of Francis Poythress (Woodlief). Born in 1732, he was 
probably the grandson or great-grandson of a Captain Francis 
Poythress who owned a plantation in Charles City County, Virginia, 
described as south of the James River, but at any rate southeast of 
present-day Richmond. His widow, Mary Sloman Poythress, mother 
of another Francis Poythress, in the early 1650s married Robert 
Wynne, whose plantation, "Georges," in Charles City County, adjoined 
the Poythress plantation (Ogburn, pp. 93, 101). The name Poythress 
was later connected to members of the Eppes family, in all likelihood 


the same as that into which Thomas Jefferson's daughter Maria 

According to Moore, Poythress was a "spoiled child of fortune" 
who early "fell into dissipated habits." "Born of wealthy parents, he 
inherited large estates and occupied a high social position" (Moore, pp. 
83-84). His being reproved for his wild career by a lady of comparable 
social rank opened the door to his receiving the message of the 
Reverend Devereux Jarratt, the noted revivalist who was stationed in 
Bath Parish in the Appalachian Mountains at the time. Converted to 
Methodism at the time when George Shadford was active on the 
Brunswick Circuit in southeastern Virginia and Asbury was assigned to 
Norfolk, Francis Poythress was admitted on trial to the itinerancy in 
1776, and his first appointment was to the newly formed Carolina 
Circuit with Edward Dromgoole and Isham Tatum (Minutes , pp. 

Moore writes that these three appointees "understood their 
marching orders," which he describes as follows: "Through the 
preaching of Pilmoor and Williams, and a few local preachers, such as 
Green Hill, we have six hundred and eighty-three members scattered 
over North Carolina; go over and possess the land" (p. 85). 

During the late 1770s Poythress served various Virginia circuits 
(Hanover, Sussex, and Fairfax), and subsequently the New Hope 
Circuit, to the west of Tar River, in North Carolina. In 1780 he met 
Asbury on the New Hope Circuit. On Tuesday, July 18, 1780, having 
crossed the Neuse River and preached to "many Baptists," Asbury 
writes, "I met brother Poythress, much cast down; the people are 
lifeless in religion" (Grissom, p. 92-93). And on Thursday, July 20, 
apparently traveling with Poythress, Asbury wrote that they "came to a 
desperate creek called Northeast, in Chatham county, where the bridge 
was carried away by the freshet; we had to go through among rocks, 
holes, and logs; I was affrighted; yea, it was wonderful that the carriage 
did not overset; brother Poythress said the horse was down twice and 
covered all but his head ..." (Grisson, p. 93). Asbury may have 
assumed that Poythress's state of mind reflected the difficulties of the 
mission rather than a gloomy cast of mind. Indeed, in the preceding 
days Asbury had complained that, in those times, no preaching could 
affect the people, "at least not mine." Still in the New Hope Circuit, 
and probably still accompanied by Poythress, in Alamance County a 
few days later he exclaimed that "these people ... are very vile, and if 
there is any mischief done it is laid to the soldiers; people rob, steal, and 
murder each other with impunity" (Carroll, p. 47). 

In 1783, Poythress was appointed to circuits on the other side of 
the Alleghanies in Kentucky and Tennessee, where, Moore writes, one 
can have little notion of the suffering he endured in "these wilds" (p. 


86). In 1786 he was again in Virginia as presiding elder over three 
circuits, and in 1787 again in North Carolina presiding over Guilford, 
Halifax, New Hope and Caswell circuits (Moore, p. 86). In 1788 he 
was appointed presiding elder over the two Kentucky circuits, 
Lexington and Danville, and the Cumberland (Bucke, I, 388). He 
retained this post for twelve years (Barclay, p. 52) ; (in 1798 and 1800 
he was appointed presiding elder in North Carolina, but he was in 
Kentucky in 1799). These were, according to Barclay, years of "highly 
effective service," and very few of the itinerant preachers excelled 
Poythress in contributions to the founding of Methodism on both sides 
of the Alleghenies. In the absence of Asbury, he presided over annual 
conferences in his district during these ten years (Moore, p. 86). 
Further, according to Moore's sources, these were times of Indian wars 
in Kentucky and Tennessee, but, remarkably, "not one of the preachers 
was killed; and I know not a single instance of a failure to fill an 
appointment . . ." (p. 88). 

Poythress was to Kentucky, Sherwood writes, the "militant prime 
leader" (Bucke, p. 388). Bishop Thomas Coke in 1789 exclaimed in his 
journal concerning "the progress of the work in Kentucke, the new 
Western World (as we call it)" (Bucke, p. 388). "Poythress is to the 
Southwest what Jesse Lee was to New England — an apostle" (quoted 
in Grissom, p. 53). Poythress led the way in establishing the first 
Methodist seminary in the West. The Bethel Academy, in Jessamine 
County, Kentucky, for which a large, two-storey brick structure was 
built, eventually failed because of debt (Moore, p. 88). 

Asbury in the journal for October 1800 takes note of a project 
which he and Poythress had jointiy promoted. On October 5 he wrote, 
"Here is Bethel; Cokesbury in miniature, eighty by thirty feet, three 
stories, with a high roof, and finished below." The Bethel school project 
was doomed to failure more surely than Cokesbury in Maryland had 
been. "Now we want a fund and an income of three hundred per year to 
carry it on; without which it will be useless. But it is too distant from 
public places; its being surrounded by the river Kentucky in part, we 
now find to be no benefit: thus all our excellencies are turned into 
defects." If the defeated project was so conducive to gloom in Asbury's 
mind, it may have been for Poythress a contributor to mental decline. 
"Perhaps brother Poythress and myself were as much overseen with this 
place as Dr. Coke was with the seat of Cokesbury. But all is right that 
works right, and all is wrong that works wrong, and we must be 
blamed by men of slender sense for consequences impossible to 
forsee — for other people's misconduct" (Asbury, II, 253). 

Asbury recommended the election of Poythress as bishop in 1797, 
but the conference at Wilbraham rejected the proposal on the ground 
that the matter should be decided by the General Conference (Moore, 


p. 88). According to Herbert Asbury (p. 286), Asbury proposed 
Poythress and Whatcoat with Lee at the Wilbraham, Massachusetts, 
conference because he could depend on these two to help him keep Lee 
in order. 

Poythress returned to North Carolina in 1800 as presiding elder 
over fifteen circuits reaching from Swannanoa in the west to 
Mattamuskeet in the east (Morganton and Swanino, Yadkin, Salisbury, 
Haw River, Guilford, Franklin, Caswell, Tar River, New Bern, Goshen, 
Wilmington, Contentney, Pamlico, Roanoke, Mattamuskeet, and 
Banks (Moore, p. 88). The territory reached from Asheville to Cape 
Hatteras, and from Wilmington to the Virginia line (Grissom, p. 214), 
the whole of the state of North Carolina. This charge, according to 
Finley, weighed heavily upon him, and his persistence in difficult labor 
in unfamiliar places overtaxed him both mentally and physically (p. 
138). Asbury wrote in the journal (II, 253) for Nov. 10, 1800: "We . . . 
came to Foster's upon Swannanoa. . . . Here we met Francis 
Poythress — sick of Carolina, and in the clouds. I, too, was sick." 

These sources yield a sketch of Poythress the man. Grissom, citing 
Finley, reports that he was about five feet eight or nine inches in height 
and heavily built; he had probably been a man of more than ordinary 
muscular strength (pp. 54-55). He traveled with a canister of tea and 
was accustomed to having tea prepared for him by the people with 
whom he lodged; problems sometimes arose because those who 
offered a circuit rider hospitality on the frontier did not always know 
what tea was (Moore, p. 87). Grissom, again citing Finley as his source, 
reports that Poythress's "conversational powers" were "not of a high 
order"; further, his "rank as a preacher was not much above 
mediocrity" (p. 54). 

If his date of birth was actually 1732, Poythress was already 
forty-four years old when converted in 1776. There followed 
twenty-four years as a circuit rider and presiding elder. His last 
appointment, presiding over fifteen circuits in North Carolina, 
subjected him to greater hardships even than the Kentucky frontier; 
and he was now sixty-eight years of age. His labors "preyed heavily 
upon his system, shattering his nerves, and making fearful inroads 
upon a mind naturally of a too contemplative if not somber cast, and 
seasons of gloom and darkness gathered around him." His delusions, 
Finlay continues, were intermittent after 1794-1795; he believed at 
times that there was a legal conspiracy against him, stemming from a 
land sale; his sister was involved, and the outcome would be his 
conviction and incarceration. Concerning one such episode he later 
wrote to Scott, "It was all delusion. My sister met me as usual" (Finlay, 
p. 141). It may be that from the labors that had saved him from a 
dissolute youth he could not desist in age in time to avoid psychic 


breakdown. Until his death, which occurred in 1818 according to 
Moore but 1810 according to Barclay, he resided with his sister in 
Jassamine County, Kentucky, twelve miles south of Lexington. 

A friend of Poythress's, also a pioneer Methodist preacher but later 
a judge in Ohio, Thomas Scott, left a physical description: "When we 
first saw him we suppose he had passed his sixtieth year. His muscles 
were quite flaccid, eyes sunken in his head, hair gray, turned back, 
hanging down his shoulders, complexion dark, and countenance grave, 
inclining to melancholy. His step was, however, firm, and his general 
appearance such as to command respect" (Finley, p. 137). 

His mental state after 1800 was assumed by some of his colleagues, 
perhaps even including Francis Asbury, accepting prevailing notions of 
the times, to imply apostacy The Reverend Henry Boehm wrote, 
"Some have supposed that he had fallen like wretched apostates who 
have made shipwreck of the faith; but it was not so. ..." Boehm and 
Asbury visited Poythress in 1810; Bohme's assessment was that 
Poythress "has been for ten years in a state of insanity, and is still in a 
distressed state of mind" (Moore, p. 91). Boehm quotes Asburys 
journal (II, 650-651) entry for October 15, 1810: "This has been an 
awful day to me — I visited Francis Poythress: Tf thou be he — but O, 
how fallen!'" Asbury's quotation from Paradise Lost concerning the 
fallen angels may imply that only the apostate could meet such a fate. 

Among the founders of Methodism in Kentucky and Tennessee, 
Francis Poythress's name stood preeminent (Moore, quoting Judge 
Scott, p. 90). On the Tar River Circuit, the Methodists of Louisburg 
knew him first as preacher and then as presiding elder. His name 
persisted in the Poythress Chapel, used by all denominations in the 
early 19th century, outside Louisburg on the Franklinton Road, more 
generally known as Old Portridge to Franklin Countians who could not 
handle the name Poythress. Poythress Chapel was considered the 
mother of the Louisburg Methodist church (Smithwick, p. 135). 
Possibly relatives of his followed Francis Poythress to North Carolina; 
his biographers make no reference to a wife and children. The name 
persists in Franklin County, both as Poythress and as Portis. 

William Ormond (1769-1804). Ormond's name first appears in the 
Minutes when he was assigned to the Tar River Circuit in 1791 . He was 
a native North Carolinian who served several circuits in North 
Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia in his short life. Methodists in 
Louisburg would have heard him preach on the Tar River Circuit in 
1791 or in 1800, when he was assigned to Tar River under Francis 
Poythress as presiding elder. Ormond was listed in the minutes as a 
deacon in 1794 and as an elder from 1797. His assignment to such 


nearby circuits as Brunswick would also in all likelihood have made him 
available to Tar River. 

Born near Kinston, North Carolina, Ormond had the name of the 
Irish medieval earldom of Ormond on the line between Counties Cork 
and Waterford (Gaelic CTRuaidh; MacLysaght) . His father or 
grandfather had probably immigrated from Ireland. He was, at any 
rate, born of "respectable," indeed well-to-do, parents by whom he was 
left a patrimony. In fact, in October, 1780, visiting his father and seeing 
his brother in Lenoir County ("The old Man & me walked up to 
Tommy's"), he sold land to a Mr. Carr. "Receiv'd 1000 Dollars & two 
Bonds for 500 each to be paid at Annual Payments. I am now clear of 
my Land" (Journal). 

Ormond kept a journal that seems to cover his every move during 
his years of itinerancy. In it he appears to record every stop, every 
sermon. It contains, however, little immediate description and few 
expressions of personal feeling, aside from reactions to illness and to 
one particular young lady. Did Daniel Shine, for example, at whose 
home he characteristically stopped, evoke from him the filial 
attachment Shine called up in other itinerants? There is no indication. 

The importance of the conversion experience during this period 
underlies Ormond's listing of the significant events of his life (Moore, 
p. 250): "Convicted [of sin], 10th December, 1787; Converted, 11th 
December 1787; Sanctified, 10th March, 1790." As Moore expounds 
it, Ormond's thus describing himself is shorthand for personal 
conversion and being called to preach: the passage from darkness into 
light, when time becomes nothing, eternity everything. The following 
year he was assigned to the Tar River Circuit. 

Ormond was twenty-two when he was admitted on trial as a 
preacher and given his first appointment, on the Tar River Circuit. His 
journal entry for Sunday, July 10th, 1791, indicates that he was already 
in action on the circuit: "I now am at Bro. Lawrence's (Tarriver Circuit, 
North Carolina), & find myself happy, I have just renewed my 
Covenant with God to walk more upright & discourse less about 
nonessentials. . . . from some discourse I've just had with a Bro. I 
perceive I have spoken my mind too freely in this C[ircui]t." The kind 
of mistake he accuses himself of may be indicated by his account of his 
refutation in chapel of a layman £ s protracted statement of personal 
belief: "I believe the Lord enabled me to vindicate my doctrine. We 
took up about 5 hours in speaking & I hope Antinomianism has 
suffered loss." For all the passionate professions of a seemingly 
emotional faith which we read during this period, Ormond's doctrine 
apparently insisted upon good works and the principles and forms of 
the church as essential to salvation. 


Later in 1791, on October 7, "Brother Green Hill preached for 
me," and on Sunday, November 23, "I came to Bro. G. Hills & 
P[reached] from Matt. XII, 43-45." Then on Saturday, December 24, 
he began a description of his Christmas: "Sat. 24. I feel like dying. 
Sunday 25th, I'm better. Monday 26th. I am mending." Then he began 
to list his stops as usual. So much for Christmas 1791. 

Following his appointment on the Tar River Circuit, he remained 
on trial and went to the Goshen circuit in 1792. "1792 January 20th. 
Conference begun at Bro. Green Hills. The Preachers was examined 8c 
they acceaded on Business, etc. Elder Low Preached in the evening. I & 
others went to Col. Sewells to tarry all night. Saturday 21st. We 
returned; several was Ordained to the Deacon Ship & two to the Elder 
Ship. (Elder Morral preached) We all received our appointments. Bro. 
Wyley & myself to Gos[h]en Ct. In the evening we returned again to 
Colo. Sewels. Sunday 22nd. We started for Bro. Hills again. 
Conference meet & did some Spiritual business & the Bishop (Mr. 
Asbury) Preached. I started for Bro. Walks in Lewisburg." The next day 
he took his leave of the conference and set out for Goshen. The host he 
refers to was Benjamin Seawell, brother-in-law of John King, who had 
by this time moved to Wake County. The stops he lists between 
Louisburg and Goshen Circuit must surely map an itinerary of 
Methodist sites and homes between Louisburg and the Neuse River 
going southeast ("Mrs. Arndals [Arendell]," "Owenes," "Mr. 
Nicholsons," "Simses," "Bro. Howels"; Methodists, both ministers 
and laymen, are referred to as Brother.) On Saturday, January 28, he 
does not indicate where he spent the night: "At bedtime I had to wrap 
my Body in my greatcoat and lay before the fire on little more than the 
floor." Such were frequently the accommodations available to the 
circuit rider. The fact merited no exclamation, but was nevertheless 
worth noting in the journal. 

On February 15, in or near Goshen, he stopped at an inn. The men 
there seemed half drunk, and they offered him rum. "I refused, but the 
Company begun to drink and talk very fast. I sat in one corner unhappy 
but strove to read. After a short time I took my great Coat & went out 
through the rain and dark to hunt a fodder stack but was unhappy 
enough not to find a hollow one, & had to return back to the Devils 
Servants again. I strove to read & keep my mind composed & reprove 
the blackguards, but to little purpose. The Land Lady seem'd desirous 
to do good & I asked the simple Man should I pray in his House & he 
said yes. Therefore, I went to duty; some knealed & others stood. I 
went to bed & they laughed hearty at my praying for them. One of the 
Sinners late in the night came to bed with unhappy me. In the night he 
went out & had the impudence without leave to take & put on my 
Shooes, & nastied them, which I had to clean in the morning." 


On February 23 he was less fortunate in his lodgings but much 
happier with his companions: "I found my fare to be very Audinary but 
blessed be God my Soul was happy At bed time three of the children & 
myself lodged in an indifferent bed in an open house, 8c the Man & 
Woman lay on the dirt floor before the fire." 

Ormond was assigned to Pamlico in 1793 and to New Hope in 
1794, in which year he was made a deacon. He was sent to Sussex, 
Virginia, in 1795. He was back in North Carolina in 1796, at Trent, 
and was made an elder in the following year, covering Roanoke and 

During these years Ormond had frequent contacts with Edward 
Dromgoole. On August 16, 1795, he wrote in the journal, "I rode to 
Drumgole's Chapel & Preached from 1 Tim. iii, 16. Met the class. ... I 
rode to Bro Dromgoles." And a month later, on September 20, "I 
tarried at bro. Edw. Dromgooles." 

The Duke manuscript collection contains a fragment of a letter 
from William Ormond written just as he set out for Roanoke Circuit, 
to which he was assigned in 1797. It was probably written to Jeremiah 
Munday assigned to Goshen in 1797. His complaint concerns 
"nominal Professors and such as wears methodist Coats, but are 
strangers to genuine Methodism": "O Bro I am often grieved because 
we have so little Zeal among both Preachers & members — Come let us 
set out all anew to battie the Devil, of late I feel a strong Propensity to 
be more alert in this work than ever. ... I am about to go to Roan- Oak 
Ct. Oh that God may go with me — Please to give my love to all thee 
enquiring Goshenites, tell them I often think of them & long to hear 
from them, (tell Bro Williams I know not that ever he wrote to me yet) 
take a large Portion of love to yourself & believe me to be your living 
Bro in Xst. P. S. They keep walking across the floor so much I must 

He was assigned to Washington, Georgia, in 1799, and from 1800 
to 1804 he served in North Carolina and Virginia, first on Tar River 
Circuit, then in Brunswick, Virginia, and Salisbury, North Carolina. 
His last assignment was to Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia in 1803 
(Moore, p. 251; Minutes). 

Ormond gave considerable thought to the organization and rules 
of the church. Had his life been longer he might have been influential in 
developing its structure. On May 20, 1800, he wrote in the journal, "I 
wish some changes in the present government of our Church but know 
not when they will take place." At the General Conference of 1800 he 
introduced a motion that the yearly conferences be authorized to 
nominate and elect their own presiding elders. This suggestion evoked 
much discussion in view of the fact that Asbury customarily made these 
appointments himself. It was defeated. At the same conference 


Ormond moved that local deacons be eligible to the elder's office. 
Brought to a vote, the motion was defeated by forty-seven to thirty-six. 
Twelve years later, however, it passed and became the rule of the 
church (Moore, p. 252). Again, at the same conference, Ormond 
introduced a motion to permit the buying and selling of slaves when it 
would prevent the separation of slave husbands and wives in cases of 
removal from one state to another. This humane ruling was one of 
many instances, according to Sweet (p. 197), of gradual relaxation of 
Methodist rigidity on the subject of slavery, though in general 
proscription of buying and selling persisted. 

Ormond describes in the journal his return to the Tar River Circuit 
in 1800. "I came to St. Tamany, crossed, came to Worrenton, then 
through the Rain to bro. Shine's. I am now in Tar- River Ct. where I am 
to travel. O! Lord own thy Servant. This is the first Circuit I ever Road. 
I am now w[h]ere I began. How little have I improved in Nine Years & 
several Months. I want to do more for the Kingdom of Jesus. The 
Redeemer's Cause lies near my Heart." Between June 10 and June 22, 
he spent nights and sometimes days in eleven different homes, naming 
all his hosts. He remained an extra day at Shine's and at Jones's (Roger 
Jones of the Rocky Ford/Kittrell/Plank Chapel area: "I continue here to 
write"). He preached seven times, met "the Class" twice, and once 
notes that he held prayers. At "bro. Pitt's" he notes that religion is "very 
flat in this Neighborhood." At "bro. Colier's" he "Had a happy 
meeting." Four times he "had a tolerable time." 

"Brother Shine," at whose home he spent two or three nights 
during this period ("I came to Bro. Shine's" probably means he passed 
the night there), was Daniel Shine, in 1800 no longer a circuit rider, but 
apparently a resident of Warren County, in view of the fact that the stop 
occurred between Warrenton and Kittrell. He may have been residing 
on the property of his wife's first husband, Gabriel Long; in general, 
however, the couple is associated with residence in Louisburg. 

On Wednesday, June 25, now somewhere northwest of Franklinton 
at "Laurance's," Ormond "Preached .... Had a tolerable Meeting but 
find the People in this neighborhood to be the same mean quarrelsom 
set that lived here nine Years ago." But then, after preaching at 
"Bridger's" and coming to John Whitfield's, "These are the same 
faithful old Methodists." On Wednesday July 2 he is again at Brother 
Shine's and there met with Brother John Evans, also assigned to the Tar 
River Circuit. The two seem to have gone their separate ways in the 
circuit they both served. Being then back in the Warrenton/Kittrell 
area, he resorted to nearby Shocco Springs, a noted watering place, 
because he is "poorly in Body." He was there for the waters on both 
Thursday and Friday, but spent the night between at Jones's. Then he 
travelled briefly with Evans, to "Q. Meeting." 


He was back at Daniel Shine's on Wednesday, July 30, and he 
preached. "I hope the Lord will bless & save these people." Then he 
sounds a note that recurs occasionally in the journal: "At Night I found 
the Temter present. My flesh opposed my soul. Lord save me from all 
Sin." On August 2 he met his presiding elder, Francis Poythress, and 
other preachers at Union Church for a two-day meeting. Poythress 
preached, Ormond exhorted. Again, Poythress preached, "I gave a 
discourse." They parted on August 4th. Then he was in Raleigh putting 
up with "friend [William] Glendenning," a former circuit rider who 
had set up a printing business in Raleigh; "At Night I preached in the 
State House. . . ." Then back through Franklin County stopping at 
Banks Chapel, east of Franklinton near Wilton. The names he 
mentioned — Holmes, Bridgers, Whitfield, Lawrence — persist in this 
area in the twentieth century. The next stop was a recurrent one, 
ArndaPs (Arendell, frequently pronounced Arnold [Davis, p. 243]). 
"At night at family prayers felt much of the presence of the Lord. 
Wednesday 13th. I am greatly tempted by my flesh." He dined at 
Brother Murphrey's and rode to Brother Shine's, which, he wrote, "is 
about 20 miles from Arnal's." Again being in Warren County, he very 
briefly took the waters at Shocco Springs. He had "ring worm," but the 
water did it no good. On the 22nd of August, at the "bigg Meeting at 
David Winstead's," he preached, "Met the Class, turn'd out one & 
another withdrew." On Wednesday the 27th of August he was again at 
Daniel Shine's and the not-too-distant Jones's Chapel, where he met 
the Class and "had a sweet time." And then, an incredible twenty-one 
stops later, on Tuesday, September 9, he "came to G. Hills." This, 
however, is Green Hill III, clerk of the court in Franklin County; the 
elder Green Hill had moved by this time to Tennessee. Ormond could 
mean, however, that he stopped at the Green Hill house, then occupied 
by Joel King, son of John King, who had died in the early 1790s. 

At Jones's Chapel on the 23rd of September, "there were some 
disagreeable Matters brought before the Church. Some of the 
Members have been transgressing." And at the next stop, "bro. Coliers . 
. . there were some disagreeable scandalous Matters brought before the 
Church which we undertook to setde." Then he headed for the Caswell 
quarterly meeting, at which Francis Poythress preached and presided. 
Ormond was among those who exhorted. "We had a good time." He 
was at Sister Moore's on Monday, the 29th of September, 1800: "This 
is an agreeable family. Sister Polly Moore has some valuable Qualities. 
She is an amiable young Lady. She calls my attention more than any I 
have seen lately. September 30th. We have to leave here this Day. When 
I took my leave of Sister Polly I left a small peice of paper with a few 
lines on it in her soft hand." On Saturday, November 1, 1800, "at bro. 


Edmund Taylors in Caswell Circuit. I am now at home. This is the Ct. I 
am to ride." 

At a conference in Brunswick on 8 April 1801, both Asbury and 
Ormond were active. "Dromyrick chapel had been removed and 
enlarged for the conferences. . .," Asbury wrote. "I held forth on 
Sunday morning to an unwieldy congregation inside, whilst William 
Ormond preached out of doors, and the poor blacks had their 
devotions behind the house" (Journal, II, 290). 

On the whole, Ormond and Asbury made few references to each 
other in their journals. However, Asbury again referred to Ormond in a 
letter to a Charleston pastor dated January 29, 1804. "Our young men 
have fallen sacrifices to towns, Brother Ormond lately" (Journal and 
Letters, III, 279). Although the comment sounds at first like a reference 
of the attractiveness of setdements over the countryside to circuit 
riders, it probably refers to Ormond's death. 

Assigned to Norfolk, Virginia, in 1803, Ormond found himself in 
the midst of an outbreak of yellow fever. He wrote to a friend on June 
30, 1803, "I expect to continue upon my station, for it appears I cannot 
well leave it at this time. I may as well die with the fever as with any 
other affliction, and there is as direct a passage from Norfolk to heaven 
as from any other part of the globe. I have no widow to weep over my 
lifeless body; no babes to mourn for a father: and I find this world a 
dangerous and troublesome place" (Minutes, p. 309). The bravado and 
sentimentality of his statement may have been evoked by presentiment. 
Two months later he attended a meeting "in the country." Setting out to 
return to Norfolk at its conclusion, he fell ill of a fever and died at the 
house of a friend in Brunswick County on October 30, 1803 (Minutes, 
p. 309). He was thirty-four. 

Ormond left a legacy to the conference. Another legacy, to the 
community in which he was born, between Kinston and Snow Hill, 
provided for the construction of a house of worship which was 
dedicated to his memory and called Ormond's Chapel. Relatives 
bearing the name of Ormond donated his journal and some notes to 
the Special Collections Library of Duke University. And the name has 
been significant in the North Carolina conferences of the Methodist 
Church in the 20th century. The legacy of his journal was no less 
significant; even where it is a bare factual account of the stops on his 
itinerary, it yields far more than has yet been harvested concerning the 
life of the circuit rider and the land and its Methodist occupants. 

Daniel Shine (d. 1829?). If William Ormond's history reveals 
something of the Tar River Circuit as community, that of Daniel Shine 
gives us our earliest insight into the Louisburg congregation. Indeed, 


his career as a circuit rider was brief: He was admitted on trial in 1790, 
received full connection in 1791, became a deacon in 1791 and an elder 
in 1792, and located in 1795. Nevertheless, following his marriage to 
the widow of Gabriel Long, he was a very active lay preacher of more 
than local significance. 

According to the Minutes, Daniel Shine was appointed to the West 
New River Circuit when he was admitted on trial in 1790, to 
Mattamuskeet in 1791 while still on trial, to Pamlico in 1792 when 
admitted to full connection, to Goshen in 1793, and to Roanoke in 

There are two letters among the Shine papers at Duke which Shine 
wrote to his father. These are addressed to Daniel Shine, Sr., Cypress 
Creek, Jones County [North Carolina], and the salutation is "My Dear 
Father and Mother." These letters are full of expressions of a lively and 
passionate piety but contain very little information. The date of the 
earliest is May 17, 1794, and he signed himself "Daniel Shine Jr. at Col. 
Lewis of Edgecomb County." Obviously he was riding a circuit (his 
assignment was to Roanoke) in view of his statement that "My ride in 
four weeks is near three hundred miles." He asked his parents, "Are you 
striving for heaven?" and wrote in the margin "Convicted and 
Converted/ Glory to His Name — ." Then on June 9, 1794, he wrote to 
his parents "from Roanoke Circuit, Halifax Co., at Lindsay" In closing 
he inquired about "Sister Hannah & Bro. Frank," apparently his sister 
and her husband, "And James." Included in the collection are letters 
from James, his brother. (As bury in the journal refers to a John Shine; 
II, 722, Jan. 13, 1813). In this letter Shine exults that he is "bound for 
Eternal Glory to meet my sweet Jesus who bought me with his Precious 
blood, Glory Glory Glory be to God in high Heaven Peace Good will 
toward men on Earth Amen Amen — ." Somewhat more soberly he 
wrote, "The truth is I am doing a great work." Further, a letter from his 
parents, Daniel and Barbara Shine, in the Hill/Davis papers at UNC, 
reveals that his mother was highly literate and articulate. 

Yet for all the intensity of his involvement in his work, Shine 
located the next year, and his marriage to Sarah Richmond Long 
probably took place at about this time. The Shines probably lived for a 
time on land of Gabriel Long's in Warren County; in 1800 William 
Ormond, assigned again to the Tar River Circuit, made "Bro. Shine's" a 
familiar stop when he has passed through "Worrington," and his next 
stop after Shine's is Jones's Chapel, or Brother Jones's, which means 
the Kittrell/Plank Chapel/Rocky Ford neighborhood. Letters to Sarah 
Shine were generally at this time addressed to Warrenton. Later letters, 
however, were addressed to Daniel Shine in Louisburg or in Franklin 
County "near Louisburg." 


Sarah Richmond Long Shine became a noted matriarchial figure in 
Franklin County. She was "prominent in the social and spiritual life of 
this whole section for more than a generation" (Davis, pp. 88; also 
249, 279). Several genealogists contribute to our knowledge of her life 
(Allen, Williams). She was the daughter of William Richmond, a 
Virginian whose first wife was Sarah Skipwith, daughter of Sir William 
Skipwith (d. 1734 Middlesex County, Virginia), 5th Baronet Skipwith. 
He was the father of William Skipwith, 6th Baronet, 1707-1764, one 
of Virginia's few native baronets (Allen). Sarah Skipwith Richmond 
died early in her marriage, and William Richmond married Ann 
Milikin of Halifax County, North Carolina, daughter of Colonel James 
Milikin. Sarah Richmond was the daughter of William Richmond's 
second marriage; she had apparendy a brother, Skipwith Richmond, of 
Edgecome County, North Carolina. Both parents dying in the 
childhood of the two offspring, they would appear to have become the 
wards of their grandfather Milikin in North Carolina. At any rate, 
Sarah grew up in the household of Nicholas Long of Halifax County, 
possibly for the sake of being educated along with the children of the 
Long family, possibly because of the death of her grandfather Milikin. 
One of the Long children was Gabriel, whom Sarah married in 1775. 
The wedding took place at the home of Sir Peyton Skipwith, who then 
lived at Edgewood (the notable monument Prestwould, near 
Clarksville, Virginia, Sir Peyton's later home, had not yet been built). 
Most of the Skipwiths remained faithful to the king and so returned to 
England at the time of the revolution, where their family history 
continued in connection with their English estates. Sir Peyton, 
however, must have taken the oath of allegiance to his home state of 

Certainly there was no question of the allegiance of the Long family 
in which Sarah grew up. Nicholas Long of Halifax, the father of 
Gabriel, was born in Caroline County, Virginia in 1732 and died in 
Halifax County, North Carolina, in 1798 (Williams). He bought a 
Halifax town lot for an inn in 1760. He was elected to represent 
Halifax in the same provincial revolutionary assemblies in which Green 
Hill represented Bute, and he led Halifax batallions to two victories in 
1775 and 1776. He was made a colonel in May 1776. Nicholas Long 
married Mary Reynolds, and their children were Ann and Gabriel. 

Gabriel Long acquired land in Franklin County near Louisburg 
and perhaps also in Warren County, where Sarah and her second 
husband lived for a time in the early 1800s. The couple had four 
daughters and a son. The husbands of all the daughters had roots in 
Louisburg: Martha Elizabeth married Joel King, son of John King; 
Rebecca Wesley married Charles Applewhite Hill, nephew of Green 
Hill; Ann married Jordan Thomas; and Mary married Green Hill III. 


Their son Nicholas Long married a Thomas and moved to Georgia 
(Davis, p. 88) but returned to live in Wilkes County, North Carolina, 
where the C. A. Hills stopped with them on a return trip from Georgia 
in 1815 (Hill/Davis papers, Southern Historical Collection). 

The home of Gabriel and Sarah Long in Halifax County seems 
always to have been a Methodist center; Asbury stopped there in 1780, 
and Gabriel was, with "Brother Bustian," the first contributor to the 
Cokesbury school in Maryland. It was on Gabriel Long's Halifax estate 
that Jesse Lee was employed as superintendent after his conversion in 
Virginia, preceding his reluctant experience in the Continental army, 
his becoming a circuit rider (Carroll, p. 33), and his later success as the 
bearer of the Methodist message in New England. 

Gabriel Long had died as early as 1792, when Sarah was made 
administrator of his estate (King). A letter to Daniel Shine from Green 
Hill III, clerk of the court of Franklin County, dated 25 April 1798, 
reveals that Shine had made inquiry of the clerk (who was already, 
judging from the use of the pronoun "our," Shine's step-son-in-law) 
concerning the property of Sarah's parents, William Richmond and his 
wife Ann Milikin. "By Nicholas I forward the Extracts of the Deed 
from Richmond & Wife ... to William Kinchen . . . and the deed of 
reconveyance from Kinchen to Richmond — ." Richmond, he wrote, 
died intestate. Administration was granted to "Ann Richmond his relict 
at March Sessions 1762." At some point she had conveyed some of the 
land by deed of gift to [James?] Milikin. "I have searched the office at 
Halifax and Tar borough but can't find the will of Col. Milikin if one 
exists — nor any deed or other [instrument?] relative to this business — I 
think it most probable that if any papers relative to the Estate of Col. 
Milikin exist they are deposited in the Secretary's office, to which at 
present I cannot have access — with respect to our claiming as heirs of 
Mrs. Richmond I think it would not be worth our trouble — because 
Mr. Steward took care to . . . [save?] the right (if Mrs. Richmond had 
any) to himself soon after their [deaths] . . .since which he Mr. Stewart 
has disposed of all the Lands I believe. . . ." (Shine Collection, Duke 
Special Collections Library). 

Daniel Shine and Sarah Long were surely married by the time of 
this investigation; Green Hill's letter was conveyed by Nicholas Long, 
Sarah's son. If it seems that Shine would surely have been overwhelmed 
by the numbers if not by the social connections of the people to whom 
he had become related by marriage, the impression is erroneous. By the 
evidence of the letters, no stepfather was ever more fondly received by 
his stepchildren and even by his step-grandchildren. In the early 1790s 
the oldest of the Long children were teenagers, but Rebecca Wesley, 
born in 1791, was a small child when her father died. Shine was able to 
enter their lives as a father fondly received. 


Their letters provide the evidence (Shine Collection, Duke) of their 
affection as well as of the lives of the Shine couple. On Sunday, August 
11, 1805, step-son Nicholas Long wrote to Daniel Shine, addressing 
the letter to Franklin County, that he has been ill and is taking medicine. 
That is why his visit to his parents has been delayed. "Tell mother ..." 
that he will appear as soon as he feels able. "You and mother must 
excuse me a few days longer." Shine's step-son-in-law Charles A. Hill 
wrote to him on November 30, 1810, addressing the letter to 
Warrenton, concerning great trials that Shine is enduring at the time: 
". . . so long as you continue in your present situation my soul must 
moan for you." Shine has "so many trials & temptations that only our 
Master's love can enable you to go through successfully." He gives no 
specific information as to the nature of the trials. According to a letter 
from Joel King sent to Warrenton in 1810 (Hill/Davis Collection, 
UNC), Shine had opened a school in Warrenton: "The conduct of the 
boys at your school should be investigated ... or your school is 
ruined." This may explain the "trials" referred to in Hill's letter. And 
then in 1812 Nancy (Ann?) Thomas wrote to Daniel Shine in Wilkes 
County, Georgia, saluting the couple as "My Dear Parents," and 
reporting from Louisburg that "we have had two days meeting at 
Portridge [Poythress]." Joel King also addressed them in Georgia in 
1812. It is possible that they considered resettlement there but 

A letter from Tuskaloosa County, Alabama, on April 16, 1820, 
yields a grandson's view of Shine as grandfather but also of his role in 
the Louisburg congregation. The salutation is the customarily formal 
"My Very Dear Sir." "Situated in our little cabbin surrounded by the 
ladies and conversing about old N. Carolina and our friends your name 
was of course as usual brought upon the [?], which brought about an 
agreeable association of ideas and reminded us of some of those happy 
hours which we have spent in sweet converse — Louisburg and all its 
splendid poverty seemed to arise before our eyes — at one moment we 
could see Mrs. Shine Dodgeing about every hole and corner in her 
house hunting for cakes and sweet meets for her grand children. At 
another we could see the little village throng trapseing up and down the 
streets in their glittering silk, callicoes[,] ruffs and cambricks, and the 
solemn voice of our Old Grand Papa resounding in peals of thunder 
from the pulpit at last salutes our ears admonishing us that this is the 
sabbath eaveneing and that it should be devoted to the pursuits and 
important concerns of another world." The writer decided to "devote 
the remnant of this sabbath eavening to this little communication." 
Writing to his grandfather accords with "the earnest dictates and wishes 
of my heart. ..." Among the blessings being enjoyed in Alabama is "the 
most exuberant soil of inexhaustible fertility which more than doubly 


rewards the labours of man." The market is at the door in the form of 
navigable rivers. The rewards of life in the natural surroundings of 
Alabama occupy most of a large folded sheet. So prosperous are they 
that soon the family will move to Tuscaloosa. In conclusion, "May God 
Bless all my old friends about Louisburg and Franklin County is the 
very ernes t and sincere prayer of your very wicked Grandson, Jno. J. 
Jones." (It is not clear how a Jones became the grandson of Sarah 

Family feeling and the Louisburg scene for the moment dominate 
the mind of a grandson as exuberant as the Alabama soil. And he feels 
free, at least at this distance, to tease grandpapa with his grandson's 
wickedness. What is also revealed is the preaching style of Daniel Shine. 
It is quite possible that he filled the pulpit when no one else was 
available. His passionate piety and his thunderous peals from the pulpit 
appear to have been favored characteristics in a minister. If the ladies of 
Louisburg wished to show off their glittering silks, they also apparently 
were not averse to being told that Sunday evening was not the proper 
time to do so. 

Green Hill III and Mary Long Hill write from Green County, 
Alabama, in March 1822. Mary reports to "My Deare Mother" on the 
family's health and well-being. "I now begin to feel like I was settled, 
we have a bountiful place a good house, and a fine Spring, and a good 
Stock of Cattle, of which we shall Milk 15 Cows this summer." Tony 
has brought in a fine deer that Nicholas killed. As for the religious 
scene, about which her mother has inquired, "we have presbyterian[,] 
Baptist and methodist preaching near, tell Farther Shine we want him 

Nor were his wife's children alone devoted to Daniel Shine. Joseph 
Pinnell, appointed to the Bedford Circuit of the Virginia Conference in 
1805, wrote to him (in Franklin County) for help and encouragement. 
To John R. Cary, probably not a preacher, he was "Dear Father in 
Christ." Cary wrote to him on January 21, 1821, describing the 
difficulties of his part of the Roanoke Circuit; their "old meeting house 
. . .has been left out by the circuit riders" for several years and he himself 
has "too cold a heart" and has "lost his spiritual energy." He has formed 
a class, but its members when they depart seem to "turn back to the 
world again." He asks for help; "I would thank you to represent our 
case to the presiding elder for this district" so that the Methodists of the 
area will not "become extinct." When he writes again on February 1, 
1821, the "devil is very busy amongst us," essentially he feels, for want 
of local preachers. But things are looking up: his house is now in better 
repair, he can offer better accommodation for the preachers, and the 
class can meet at his house. He must have received the help he sought. 


"May the lord bless you and preserve your useful life, your affectionate 
son in Christ, Jno. R. Cary." 

Cary gives evidence that the "local preachers" were as important to 
a community as the circuit riders. In Louisburg, Methodism throve 
early because of Green Hill and John King, both of whom left the area 
by 1800. It appears that the mantle descended upon Daniel Shine, local 
preacher who was host to the circuit riders, attracted other preachers, 
and preached himself when the pulpit was empty Two letters give 
evidence of Shine's coordinating the worship services in Louisburg. A 
letter dated March 30, 1816, asks him to "Make appt for me to preach 
in Louisburg." Addressed to Daniel Shine in Louisburg, the letter was 
sent from Fairfield, but its signature is obscured and may indeed be that 
of the circuit rider. Another such letter has been preserved, this one 
from Shine's step-son-in-law Charles Applewhite Hill. Writing from 
Warrenton, where he apparently lived while he was headmaster of 
Midway Academy, Hill offers to preach in Louisburg "next Sabbath 
after tomorrow." Although the letter is chiefly devoted to expected 
problems he has not had in "my school," as well as to prevailing prices 
in Warrenton, matters Hill apparently knew would be of interest and 
concern to his father-in-law, it ends with a message, again suggestive of 
the affectionate family, from "Becky," Hill's wife, Rebecca Wesley 
Long. "Becky says tell Pa ..." to come in the gig to visit them so that 
she can return with him in the gig to Louisburg to visit her mother. Not 
only was Hill the headmaster of Midway Academy between Louisburg 
and Warrenton, a graduate of the University of North Carolina, and the 
member of the state legislature who introduced the bill to establish 
public schools in the state, he apparently stood well as a lay preacher. 
Again, on February 24, 1820, he wrote from Warrenton to Shine in 
Louisburg that he has made an appointment for Shine to preach in 
Warrenton "on Sunday next." He appears to have been performing for 
Warrenton the role that Daniel Shine played for Louisburg. 

Charles Applewhite Hill is listed in Battle's History of the University 
of North Carolina as one of the seven most notable graduates of 1816. 
He was "Principal of Classical Schools, preacher, and State Senator" (p. 
248). Battle points out that Hill left the University in 1804, but in his 
account of the "Great Secession" from the University in 1805, he does 
not mention Hill's name. When a monitoring system of "inquisitorial 
severity" was to be instituted in 1805, Hill left the University and took 
with him a number of students to study at Franklin Academy in 
Louisburg. He returned to Chapel Hill and graduated in 1816. In 
1828 he himself was principal of Franklin Academy. For an interval he 
moved his family to the deep South, considering the possibility of 
settling there. 


Charles and Rebecca Hill named one of their sons for "Pa." Daniel 
Shine Hill, a Franklin County planter, was chairman of the board of 
trustees of the Methodist Church at Main and Noble streets in 
Louisburg in 1866 and led the choir for many years at mid-century. 

A land deed described previously attests to Daniel Shine's activity 
in Franklin County in 1802. On 29 September, 1802, Samson Gilliam 
sold three quarters of an acre of land to five men, one of whom was 
Daniel Shine (Franklin County Deed Book 11, p. 185). The land is 
designated for the "use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church in the United States of America. . . ." Other sales of land by 
Samson Gilliam pertained to land in the vicinity of Stallings 
Crossroads; thus it seems probable that Daniel Shine was party to the 
acquisition of a structure for religious uses in the vicinity of White 
Level, east from Louisburg. The price was a nominal six shillings. As a 
local preacher, he never ceased his efforts on behalf of the church. 

Finally, an undated letter from Ann Long Thomas to her mother 
Sarah Shine. If Mary Long Hill appeared to be a non-speller, Ann 
Thomas was a person of considerable literary ability. She wrote a letter 
of consolation to her mother, showing neither a date nor a place of 
origin. Although she refers to the death of a sister, a daughter of Sarah 
Shine, her rhetorical pitch is such that specific events are hard to 
distinguish from symbolic references. She urges her mother to take 
heart and to recover from her grief; "The first broken clods conceal 
from our view the sainted face of a much loved and honored father. I do 
believe that heaven has granted him to be our ministering angel. O that 
his spirit may hover over us. . . ." Her reference is probably to the death 
of Daniel Shine, thought to have occurred in 1828. With the respect for 
age characteristic of the time, she continues, "You should rejoice to 
know that you are not far from your father's house. . . . May the Lord 
pour into your aged bosom, the comforts of his holy spirit." Sarah 
Shine had known many deaths, from childhood: her parents, her 
grandfather/guardian, a daughter, and two husbands. She herself died 
in 1846 in the house built for her by Ann and Jordan Thomas on 
southeast corner of their lot on Main Street at Sunset in Louisburg. 
The house is occupied today. 

Methodism throve in Louisburg into the second generation, with 
the attention of the circuit riders and abundant help from the local 
preachers, among whom Daniel Shine was notable. Nancy (Ann?) 
Thomas notes in her letter to "My Dear Parents" addressed to Wilks 
County, Georgia, on July 25, 1812, "We have had two days meeting at 
Portridge. Mr. Buxton preached from . . . wages of sin is death and the 
gift of God is eternal life. Mr. Gleen [>] preached a second sermon at the 
close of the [first]." John Buxton was presiding elder of the Raleigh 


District, which then included the Tar River circuit. At the time of 
Shine's death, the Methodists were about to buy their first meeting 
house and lot in Louisburg, at the corner of Nash and Elm streets. 
Portridge was one of the places they had been holding services, but that 
was two or three miles out of town on the Franklinton Road. No 
references exist to the places they may have met in town; but the 
description left by the "wicked grandson" in 1820 suggests that the 
fashion parade on the Louisburg streets was not far from the pulpit 
from which Daniel Shine's voice "resounded in peals of thunder." 


Allen, John Edward. "Skipwith Family: Records of the Family Anterior to the 
Hill Records." Papers of John Edward Allen, Warrenton NC. 

Asbury, Francis. Journals and Letters of Francis Asbury, ed. Elmer T. Clark. 
Nashville TN, 1958. 3 vols. 

Asbury, Herbert. A Methodist Saint: The Life of Bishop Asbury . New York: Alfred A. 
Knopf, 1927. 

Barclay, Wade C. History of Methodist Missions, I. New York: Board of Missions of 
the Methodist Church, 1949. 

Battle, Kemp Plummer. History of the University of North Carolina. Vol. 1 . Raleigh: 
Edwards and Broughton, 1907-1912. Privately printed. 

Bennett, W. W '. Memorials of Methodism in Virginia. Richmond: Privately printed, 

Bucke, Emory S., Gen. Ed. The History of American Methodism. Nashville TN: 
Abingdon Press, 1964. 3 vols. 

Carroll, Grady L. Francis Asbury in North Carolina. Nashville: Pantheon, 1965. 

Clark, Elmer T. Methodism in Western North Carolina. Historical Society of the 
Western North Carolina Conference, 1966. 

Cotten, Bruce. Letter to Ida Fitzhugh Sims. Letters of Edward Dromgoole. 
Manuscript Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library of the 
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC. 

Davis, Edward Hill. Historical Sketches of Franklin County. Raleigh: Edwards & 
Broughton, 1948. Privately printed. 

Finlay, James B. Sketches of Western Methodism. New York: Eaton & Moins, 1854. 

Grill, C. Franklin. Early Methodist Meeting Houses in Wake County. Raleigh: North 
Carolina Conference Commission on Archives and History, 1979. 

Grissom, William L. History of Methodism in North Carolina, I. Nashville TN: 
Methodist Episcopal Church South, 1905. 

Hill/Davis Collection (#4393), Manuscript Collection of the Southern Historical 
Collection, Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill NC. 


King, Myrtle May (Mrs. John). "Grandma Shine: Early Louisburg Citizen." 
Franklin County Sketchbook. Franklin County Bicentenary Committee, Louisburg, 
1982, pp. 93-94. 

MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland. 6th ed. Dublin: Irish Academic 
Press Limited, 1991. 

Minutes of the Methodist Conferences . . . 1773 to 1813. New York: Daniel Hitt and 
Thomas Ward, 1813. 

Moore, Matthew H. Sketches of the Pioneers of Methodism in North Carolina and 
Virginia. Nashville: Southern Methodist Publishing House, 1884. 

Norwood, Frederick A., ed. Sourcebook of American Methodism. Nashville: 
Abingdon, 1982. 

Ogburn, Rubyn Reynolds. As I Was Told About the Ogburn and Wynne Families. 
Richmond: Dietz Press, 1958. 

Ormond, William. Journals of William Ormond, 1791-1803. Special Collections 
Library, Duke University. 

Sherwood, Lawrence. "Growth and Spread, 1785-1804." In Emory S. Bucke, ed. 
History of American Methodism, I. Nashville: Abingdon, 1964. 

Shine, Daniel. Collection of Letters. Special Collections Library, Duke 

Smithwick, Daniel T. "Beginning of Religion in Franklin County," The Franklin 
Times: Special 100th Anniversary Issue. Louisburg NC, 1970. 

Sweet, William Warren. Methodism in America. Nashville: Abingdon-Cokesbury 
Press, 1933. 

Williams, George. Genealogical Chart of the Long Family of Halifax County. 
Courtesy of Edgar Thorne of Cherry Hill, Inez, NC. 

Woodlief, Ann. (5/23/97) "Colonel Robert Wynne and Mary Frances Sloman 
[Poythress]" [on-line]. Available: 
For the Eppes connection (5/23/97) [on-line]. Available: 

dll/abl.nfo/query=francis+ poythress/doc/{@3116}? 


Chapter 3 
From Circuit to Station 

Last Decades on the Circuit: A Parsonage for Circuit Riders. A Circuit Church 
Building in Louisburg. Louisburg as a Circuit Church. Camp Meetings. The 
Louis burg Church as a Station: Ministers of the Station. The Congregation in 
1859. Sunday Evening Service, 1856. Aunt Abby House. A Church for Two 
Races. Sunday in the Country — Edwin Fuller Describes a Pre-Civil War 
Congregation: Dinner on the Grounds. The Country People. A Gospel for Rich and 

Last Decades on the Circuit 

Until the Louisburg Methodist congregation became a station with 
its own "preacher in charge," the records of circuit riders and local 
preachers yield most of the available information about the people who 
made up the local church. Although the local Methodist group had 
owned a building in town from 1830 and had built the brick church on 
Main Street in 1850, it was only after the church became a station in 
1859 that it held quarterly conferences and kept records of its activities. 

As a result, during the pre-station days, glimpses of the 
congregation are peripheral, deriving from the preachers, as when 
Asbury, preaching at Green Hill's on July 9, 1780, described the 
women as full of dress and the men as full of news and all of them as 
"Gospel slighters." The voice from the 1820s of Daniel Shine's "wicked 
grandson" represents the points of view of both the audience and the 
preacher: grandpapa is exhorting concerning what is appropriate to the 
Sabbath evening, and the ladies are demonstrating their prosperity in 
their style of dress. Only in the mid- 19th century will the congregation, 
recording its own actions, present itself as it wishes to be seen. 

A Parsonage for Circuit Riders. A meeting at the church in 
Louisburg on 28 August 1841 was probably preparatory to the fourth 
quarterly meeting of the Tar River Circuit the following month 
(Hill/Davis Collection). It dealt with several aspects of two subjects: 1. 
Becoming a "four-week circuit," meaning that the preacher would be 
present in the vicinity once in four weeks, presumably, rather than less 
frequently. 2. Building a circuit parsonage. 3. Appointing collectors for 


each of the societies in the circuit to raise money for a parsonage. 4. 
Appointing a committee to raise money to construct a parsonage. 5. 
The parsonage was to be located in Louisburg or the vicinity. Those 
present were Joel King, Nicholas B. Massenburg, Thomas G. Stone, 
Joseph B. Littlejohn, Burwell Baker, Ricky Furman, D. S. Hill, 
Edward Speed, Kemp Hill, Norfleet Carson, William Hayes, Robert 
Rodwell, Elbert Cheek, John Nicholson, William B. Green, John 
Young, Archibald Turner, William Branch, John Gill, Leroy Mitchell, 
Thomas Moses, Robert Pleasants, Samuel Perry, William Arendell, 
and the Reverend Daniel Culbreth. 

The following month, on 18 September 1841, the Fourth 
Quarterly Meeting of the Tar River Circuit was held at Jerusalem 
church. The subject under consideration was the circuit parsonage. The 
committee appointed to "purchase or construct" the parsonage 
consisted of Joel King, N. B. Massenburg, D. S. Hill, Burwell Baker, 
and Thomas G. Stokes. (Those listed as present were categorized as 
preachers, elders, class leaders, and stewards; James Jamison was listed 
as "PE" [presiding elder], and T D. Fleury as "LP" [lay preacher]. Class 
leaders were Ricky Furman, John Brodie, Kemp Hill, S. Ward, and 
John Gill. Stewards were Daniel S. Hill, John Whitfield, J. Nicholson, 
and N.B. Massenburg.) 

Action on the parsonage came in 1847, when the committee at the 
Quarterly Meeting Conference of the Circuit recommended Louisburg 
as the most suitable location for a home for preachers on the Tar River 
Circuit — "those Ministers who have families, and are called to labor 
with us, year after year." The following Louisburg residents were 
appointed as a committee to raise six hundred dollars and have a 
parsonage constructed: Daniel S. Hill, N. B. Massenburg, Joseph B. 
Litdejohn, A. H. Ray, and John G. King. Their "Address of the 
Parsonage Committee for Tar River Circuit, to the Members and 
Friends of the Methodist Episcopal Church South" is dated 1 May 
1847 (D. S. Hill's copy is in my possession). All were major local 
landowners or merchants except A. H. Ray, who was headmaster of 
Franklin Academy. Joseph B. Litdejohn of Ingleside would become a 
Confederate general. John G. King was a grandson of John King. 

The "Address" affords an oblique view of the socio-economic 
milieu and the significant presence of Methodism throughout the 
county. It includes a list of seventeen chapels in the county, with the 
names of the "Gendemen . . . appointed Agents to assist the Committee 
to obtain subscribers and receive contributions": Louisburg'. Thomas 
K. Thomas, T D. Fleury; Shiloh: David Thomas, L. R. Mitchell; 
Sarepta: Dr. Sol. Williams, Dr. Thos. Davis; Shocco Chapel: Dr. S. G. 
Ward, Dr. Ellis Malone; Cokesbury: Simmons Sutherland; Plank 
Chapel: Joseph Sims; Ebenezer: John Nicholson; Franklinton: R. C. 


Maynard, R. Furman; Kingswood: Howell Cook; Grove Hill: Lewis 
Bobbitt; Banks's Chapel: John White, Dr. Ed. Speed; Smith's & 
Rockspring: John Lawrence; Prospect: Jos. A. Whitaker, Baldwin Perry; 
Elizabeth Chapel: Jos. A. Whitaker; Salem: William J. Branch; 
Jerusalem: N. P. Carson; Trinity: Richard H. Hill, Wm. B. Foster. 

The list suggests that, in 1847, Methodism, by means of these 
seventeen chapels, was well distributed over Franklin County and 
perhaps certain periferal areas. Shocco may have been in Warren 
County; if so it was not far inside. Vance County had not yet been 
carved out of Granville and Franklin, so Plank Chapel may still have 
been in Franklin; it is now, in 1997, quite close to the county line. 
Several of the "agents" may have been Louis burg residents: Dr. Ellis 
Malone certainly was, and David Thomas was a steward of the 
Louisburg church. A picture emerges of an agrarian society of large and 
small landowners with rural communities vigorous enough to maintain 
their own Methodist churches on the circuit. Doctors were generously 
distributed and were active in the church, and each rural community 
doubdess had its country store. The Louisburg church through these 
years listed black members, so there was not a separate 
African- American church. The system seems to have worked; the 
parsonage was built. On this copy of the leaflet, only the beginning of 
the list of subscribers survives; Daniel S. Hill pledged $20, Elizabeth 
Toole, his mother-in-law, $10. The parsonage was furnished by the 
same means; a subscription list of twenty- two names was dated 24 
December 1849 (Duke Manuscript Collection); the total came to 
$67.50, with a bedstead and chairs. 

Commissioners of the Tar River Circuit and representatives of the 
Louisburg church recommended on 10 May 1859 that this circuit 
parsonage be sold and the proceeds divided between the station and the 
circuit. The preacher in charge, however, T Page Ricaud, 
countermoved that the station pay rent of $40.00 to the stewards of the 
circuit for a year's rent of the parsonage for the station preacher ("being 
ten percent on 400.00, which is one half the estimated value of the 
property"), with the provision that any repairs to the property be paid 
for when the building was divided or sold (Recording Steward's Book, 
1859-1874, Louisburg United Methodist Church). 

The following January 30, however, the quarterly conference 
discussed the possibility of "expanding the present parsonage or 
building on a new site." If the committee (appointed were N. B. 
Massenburg, Jones Fuller, P [Peyton] I. Brown, David Thomas, and D. 
S. Hill) decided to build, they were authorized to "sell the present 
parsonage lot & improvements & convey the same & to contract for 
the building of a new Parsonage." Finally, on 2 February 1863, 
"According to instructions of the last Quarterly Conference the 


Parsonage was sold to the highest bidder for ($1225.) twelve hundred 
8c twenty five dollars cash"; no mention was made of settlement with 
the circuit. 

Apparently there was none. According to minutes of the 
conference of 21 September 1863, the committee had purchased in 
October 1862 the "Patterson lot adjoining the church" for a parsonage. 
The purchase price was $2260, partially covered by the $1225 received 
for the circuit parsonage. The balance had been raised except for $224 
due on 2 June. Evidence is lacking that a new parsonage was built on 
this lot, and in view of the purchase price it is probable that there was 
already a house on it. 

A Circuit Church Building in Louisburg. Old Portridge was 
superseded when the Louisburg Methodists bought a lot on the corner 
of Nash and Elm streets in 1830 (Deed Book 26, p. 244, Franklin 
County Courthouse). If there was not already a building on the lot, 
they built one ("The first Methodist Church was built on the hill on 
Nash Street" [Brooks, p. 2]). Even earlier, however, in 1820, annual 
conference had been held in Louisburg, implying a structure (possibly 
one of the academies) capable of containing it. Pauline Brooks in her 
historical sketch of the Louisburg Methodist church associates with 
this conference the name of Hezekiak G. Leigh, admitted to full 
connection at the conference and appointed to the Tar River Circuit at 
about that time. A few years later James Reid served the circuit 
(Brooks, p. 2). Names of other riders on the circuit during the 1820s, 
listed by Howard as taken from "Official Journals," were James W Bell, 
George W Dye, Stephen D. Winbourn, and Philip Bruce (1826). 
Between 1831 and 1836, according to Brooks, the preachers in charge 
of the circuit were Bennett T Blake, "Mr. Spick," and "Mr. Compton." 
A second conference was held in Louisburg in the old church at Nash 
and Elm (then called the Western Back Line) in 1842, and the 
preachers whom Brooks lists for the years 1840 to 1852 were Sidney B. 
Bumpass, John W Lewis, Alfred Norman, Thomas S. Campbell, A. C. 
Allen, Dr. John E. Edwards, and William I. Langdon (p. 2-3). 

A report on the condition of the "church at Louisburg " is 
appended to the minutes of the Fourth Quarterly Meeting of the Tar 
River Circuit held at Jerusalem on 18 September 1841, which is 
described above as recommending the acquisition of a circuit 
parsonage (Hill/Davis Collection). The church at Louisburg was 
reported to have "broken window lights, delapidated window blinds, 
many decayed shingles," and some weatherboarding that needed 
renailing. The committee consisted of Joel King, Burwell Baker, Ricky 
Furman, N. B. Massenburg, D. S. Hill, Washington Branch, and 
William Arendell. 


Perhaps this old original church was repaired before it became the 
scene of the October annual conference of 1842, presided over by 
Bishop Waugh (Brooks, p. 2). In all likelihood it had already been 
moved to the intersection of North Main and the present Smoketree 
Way, where it seems to have been used as the church for a decade or so 
after the lot on Nash was sold (E. H. Davis, p. 290). Later conferences 
were held in Louisburg in 1852 and in 1861, these two in the brick 
church at Main and Noble (with sessions probably at the academies and 
the College), built in the pastorate of A. C. Allen (Brooks, p. 4). Bishop 
Capers presided at the 1852 conference and Bishop Andrews at that of 
1861 (M. Davis). However, the Quarterly Conference at its 1 
November 1865 meeting voted to invite the North Carolina 
Conference to hold its next meeting in Louisburg. Apparently the 
invitation was not accepted. From 1861 until 1895, Mabel Davis 
wrote, "no Methodist Bishop again set foot in Louisburg." In 1895, 
however, Bishop Wilson presided over the district conference and 
conducted a love-feast at Green Hill in the old upper chamber one 
hundred and ten years after the first conference was held there. Since 
then, Mabel Davis continued, Bishops Duncan, Candler, and Kilgo 
each preached in Louisburg and "visited the 'upper room' at Green 

Louisburg as a Circuit Church. The circuit rider preached at the 
many chapels on his list according to a regular schedule. John Wesley 
Lewis, listed above by Brooks as preaching in Louisburg in the 1840s, 
appears to have riden the Raleigh circuit in 1835, the Tar River Circuit 
in 1846-1847, and afterward the Davidson circuit. In 1851-1852 he 
was on the Franklin, Virginia, circuit. His daughter gave his diaries and 
sermons to the Duke Special Collections Library, including a "Plan of 
Appointments" for the Tar River Circuit for about a month, 20 
December 1846 to 17 January 1847. The chapels on his list are the 
same as those on Daniel Shine Hill's notice concerning collections for 
the circuit parsonage, with the addition of Hicks' and Concord, which 
Hill does not list. It begins with Sunday 20 December (Elizabeth 
Chapel), Wednesday 23 December (Shilo Woods), Thursday 24 
December (Sarepta) and continues, skipping one day occasionally and 
two days twice until Sunday 17 January. December 25 is one of the 
days skipped. Local chapels held services on the day when the circuit 
rider came or on the Sunday when a local preacher offered a sermon. 

Lewis frequently lodged in Louisburg at "Sister Hill's," and once 
he writes that he had "my wife and sister Martha Hill in company." 
Some of those who entertained him were Col. [Joseph Blount] 
Littlejohn, at Ingleside, after he had preached at Plank Chapel; "the 
Massenburgs"; in Louisburg "Bro. King," "Bro. [A. H.] Ray" and T K. 


Thomas; and on the other side of Louisburg Arendall, Lawrence, and 
Whitfield, whose relatives had also entertained William Ormond in the 

Lewis not only preached to the congregation; he also met "classes" 
at the churches. At times he wrote that he "didn't get" a class; 
sometimes he didn't get a congregation. The class remained from the 
original Wesleyan organization of Methodist groups in England a 
hundred years before. The society and the band seem not to have 
survived from this original structure; and the class may have merged 
with adult Sunday-school classes at some time. In 1847, Louisburg had 
five classes; the chapels had only one each, their communities being 
doubtless less populous. Also varying with the population was the 
amount raised "for quarterage" of the rider at each appointed chapel or 
church. Lewis reports in this appointment record that Louisburg had 
paid $131.05, Trinity $47.00, and so on, these being the two largest 
amounts paid by the churches. One congregation had paid only $.05. 

Lewis lists the members of the classes at each chapel. These names 
must very nearly constitute the roll of the congregations during this 
era. There are some discrepancies, however; neither Daniel Shine Hill 
nor his wife Susan Irwin Toole Hill was listed, although Lewis reports 
that he lodged at D. S. Hill's in Louisburg (as opposed to previous 
residences of Hill's, one near Ingleside and one five miles out on 
Highway 561) on a night in October 1846. 

"Louisburg Class #1," according to Lewis's "Plan," was led by 
Thomas D. Fleury ("L & LP" seems to mean Leader and Local 
Preacher). Members were Joel King, his wife Martha E. King, Frances 
Tunstall, Drucilla Thomas, N. B Massenburg "Sta" [>], Lucy 
Massenburg, Elizabeth Stone, Rebecca Foster, Susan P. M. Foster, 
Mary Lewis, Martha Ballard, George Thomas, Sally A. L. Jones, Nancy 
Waddell, David Thomas, Barnes, and Murphy (no first names). 

Of Class #2, Ricky Furman was the class leader; he was a trustee at 
the time of the purchase of the original lot at Elm and Nash. Members 
were Ann Thomas "Infirm," Margaret Noble, Temperance W King, 
Elizabeth I. Jones "Infirm," Emily Sykes, Rebecca F. Furman, Ann L. 
Fuller, Virginia A. Baker, Delia Wynne, Frances E. Yarborough, 
Elizabeth Hunter, Virginia Vandeford, Nancy Timberlake, Emma I. 
Patterson, Celestia R. Patterson, Rebecca Williams, Robert Waddell, 
Henry S. Furman, William H. Furman, Fonteroy Young, John D. 
Connell, Rufus Place, Anderson Vandeford, and Martha Dozier 

Class #3 was led by A. H. Ray, headmaster of the academy. Its 
members were John G. King, William R. King, Henry Baker, Susan B. 
Wynne, Caroline S. Baker, James Waddell, Celina Walker, Sarah 
Robertson, Rebecca Furman, Ann Solomon, Alex Gordon, Jane A. 


Ray, Eugenia Place, David Cottrell, Gordon, Martha Nobles, 

Edney Cooper, Mary Wynne, and James R. Nance. 

Class #4 was led by Nathan B. Walker. It consisted of Peyton I. 
Brown, William Jones, Beverly L. Waddell, Thomas K. Thomas, 
Charlotte Baker, Sarah Brown, Mary Spencer, Margaret Patterson, 
Susan Barham, Louisa D. Thomas, William Arendal "L[ocal] Elder," 
Corinna Arendal, Susan Murphy, Nancy Arendal, Martha E. Arendal, 
Clarissa Curtis (?), Warren Nobles, Mrs. Nobles, John Nobles, and 
William Nobles. 

The names of the "Colored Class" are in places illegible because 
they are written in pencil. No leader was mentioned. Members were 
James Williams, Richard Nobles, Brister (?) Shaw, — -Williams, Molly 
Johnson, Betty Patrick, Caroline (Shaw? Sherman?), Anne Shaw, 
Rebecca Alston, Harriet Yarborough, Fanny King, Betty Brown, Prissy 
Alston, E — (?) Arendal, Judy Baker, Mary Boothe (?), Sarah 
Yarborough (?), Elvira Thomas, Jesse Layton (?), Sarah Jones, 
Henderson (?), Dance (?), Zilpha Thomas, Jenny Noble, Patty Blue, 
Jane Noble, William Bobbitt, Judy Thomas, Ned Williams, Charlotte 
Sanford, Kezia Jones, and Ann Noble. 

Camp Meetings. Camp meetings were a significant feature of the 
early decades of the century. They originated, according to Grissom (p. 
328), in the great revival of the last decade of the 18th century; he cites 
an early one in Lincoln County in 1789-1790. Scattered settlement of 
the countryside made them expedient. The whole family would be 
taken to a camp meeting in a wagon to remain perhaps several days and 
nights and return home full of a new religious feeling. Retreat and 
vacation in one, they at times became highly emotional. Grissom cites 
cases of people being "struck" and getting the "jerks" as two of the 
emotional manifestations. 

In her sketch of the Louisburg church, Brooks cites the 1820s and 
1830s as years of great popularity of camp meetings (p. 2). "Scores of 
souls were added to the Church here from the meetings held at 
Jerusalem, Plank Chapel, Bank's Chapel, and other places, and the 
Revival fires kindled at these altars under the power of the Spirit and 
the fervid eloquence of such great pulpit orators as Hezekiah Leigh, 
Moses Brock and others, never burned out." Born in 1854, Brooks 
must have known of camp meetings largely by word of mouth; but her 
father, Daniel Shine Hill, doubdess knew whereof he spoke. 

Edward Dromgoole described camp meetings in a paper addressed 
to "Dear Brethren" and written late in his life. "It was in the year 1803 
that Camp meetings were first introduced in this part of the world, and 
I am disposed to believe that good has been done at them. It is true they 


are attended with more expense and trouble than any other meetings 
we have had among us" (Cotten Collection, UNC). 

"I was witness at a camp meeting which commenced on the 22nd 
of October 1819, the wind was high and the weather cold, preaching 
day and night out of doors. . . .About 30 of the white people were 
converted. ..." Both white and black people attended, and in other 
cases the converts were of both races. "The twelfth of last Oct. 1820 
another camp meeting was held where God manifested his saving 
power. The rain on Saturday evening forced the people into their tents 
and into the preaching house which was crowded [.] Numbers were 
convinced of sin and I hope not fewer than 50 white persons were 
added to the numbers of believers." 

Resuming his account, apparently in 1822, Dromgoole refers to an 
annual meeting at the same location. "Since I wrote the former part of 
this letter we have had another camp meeting in the same 
neighborhood and place where we had it last year. This last meeting 
commenced on the fourth of Oct. 1821 and was a happy season both 
with preachers and people. ..." About thirty-seven white and ten black 
people were converted, and "much union prevailed among the 
members who attended." 

This meeting, however, was at the center of the on-going 
controversy about the office and function of the presiding elder. 
Dromgoole wrote that it "has been denominated a rebellious meeting, 
because it was appointed without the approbation of the presiding 
Elder. . . . There was much expence bestowed on the place to prepare it, 
and erect temporary buildings for the express purpose of [a] 
campmeeting[;] after the first, the People expected and desired a 
second campmeeting, application was made in due time to the 
presiding Elder to appoint one, this he would not do, of course we 
must have none, or the local Preachers must make the appointment. 
This was done from pure motives and the meeting was as orderly and 
peaceable as any that I have attended, and good was done." 

Bennett makes use of a description of a camp meeting in 
Pennsylvania in 1806 or 1807 to help him characterize those of 
Virginia and probably North Carolina. Joseph Carson wrote, "The 
camp ground presented a very different appearance from those of the 
present day. The tents were not large, commodious rooms, but only 
sheets, blankets, etc., stretched on poles; the seats were logs, stumps, 
stones or anything we could get; the stand was somewhat after the 
present style, but there was no altar. The food was of the plainest kind, 
and for the most part cold — the tables then groaned not beneath a 
sumptuous load. . . . We met with strong opposition and much 
persecution; not only threats but stones were hurled at us, but their 


efforts to harm us were frustrated in an almost miraculous manner" (p. 

According to the diary of Nicholas B. Massenburg, a camp meeting 
in the area attracted all communicants. "24 August 1834: No 
preaching in town; all gone to camp meeting P[lank] Chapel." In spite 
of the fifteen-mile trip from Louisburg to Plank Chapel by 
horse-drawn vehicle, a camp meeting there could empty the church in 
Louisburg. Casual perusal of the diary for the 1830s, as opposed to a 
thorough search for camp meetings, reveals that on 1 October 1837 
there was another camp meeting at Plank Chapel. And in September 
1838, "Camp meeting at Jerusalem." 

The Louisburg Church as a Station 

Ministers of the Station. The "station was made," as Brooks put it, 
under the Rev. T Page Ricaud (1859-1861). In his pastorate, stoves 
were put in the church for the first time. Previously, unless the services 
were held in the basement, many families used foot stoves, "small 
square tin boxes with perforated sides and a cup filled with live coals 
inside" (Brooks, p. 5). It was Grandma Shine who introduced such 
stoves to the church. "A young man, observing it for the first time, 
remarked that 'Mrs. Shine has the biggest pepper box I ever saw, and 
she brought it to meeting today'" Mr. Ricaud had a railing installed to 
the high steps leading to the sanctuary, and another railing placed down 
the center of the steps "to aid the older members in descending." 

M. C. Thomas (1861-1863) became pastor at the time of the 1861 
conference, followed by T W Guthrie (1863-1865) and then R. S. 
Moran, D.D. (1865-1866). "Few of those who sat under Dr. Moran's 
preaching, especially in those last trying days of the Confederacy, can 
ever forget his soul stirring sermons. How tenderly he led his people 
with their crushed hearts and wrecked fortunes to the source of all 
comfort, until they could take joyfully the spoiling of their goods, 
knowing that in Heaven they had a more enduring and better 
inheritance" (Brooks, p. 7). 

"When the Church needed wise and gentle admonition," Brooks 
continued, "God sent us the beloved Rev. Jesse A. Cunninggim 
(1866-1870) and his beloved wife" (p. 7). This was the well-known 
"Uncle Jesse" who is said to have brought several young men into the 
Methodist ministry. "A most gracious and widespread revival occurred 
during his first year. Dr. Turner M. Jones was president of the College at 
the time, and many of the young girls were led to seek Christ at this 
revival who became consecrated, influential women in the Church in 
different sections of the State." 


"Rev. Oscar J. Brent [1870-1873] wrought well for three years"; 
(she omits P. J. Carraway, 1873-1874); next came Frank L. Reid 
(1874-1878). There followed Thomas A. Smith (1878-1880); W C. 
Norman (1880-1884); W S. Rone (1884-1886); (she omits Alphcus 
McCullen, 1886-1888); J. B. Hurley (1888-1891); L. E. Thompson 
(1891-1893), J. A. Green (1893-1895); G. E Smith (1895-1899), 
(andM. T Plyler, 1899-1903). 

The Congregation in 1859. "In fancy I can see the congregation as it 
looked at that time. In the 'Amen Corner' to the left of the pulpit, sat 
'Grandma Hill 5 in a chair near the altar, her calm sweet face upturned to 
the preacher in rapt attention." Looking back to childhood, Pauline 
Hill Brooks reconstructed in 1899 the scene she repeatedly beheld a 
few years after the church became a station. She recalled one by one the 
members of the church sitting in the old 1850. 

"Grandma Hill" was the widow of Charles Applewhite Hill, 
schoolmaster, senator, local preacher. In 1820, when her husband 
wrote to Daniel Shine from Warrenton, she was "Becky," who wanted 
"Pa" to visit them in the gig so she could return with him to Louisburg 
to visit her matriarchal mother, Sarah Richmond Long Shine. More 
than thirty years later, she appears to Pauline Brooks as herself the 
matriarch of the family. Rebecca Wesley Long Hill, whose father was 
Gabriel Long, was the mother of Daniel Shine Hill, who filled many 
offices for the station. Her death is reported in the Quarterly 
Conference Records for 5 August 1869. 

Near Grandma Hill in the Amen corner were two of her sisters. 
Martha Elizabeth Long King was the wife of Joel King, second child 
and oldest son of John King. Joel King will be seen sitting on the other 
side, to the right of the pulpit. Grandma Hill's other sister was Anne 
Long (Mrs. Jordan) Thomas, the highly literate writer of the letter to 
her mother concerning, apparendy, the death of Daniel Shine. As her 
husband Jordan Thomas was not listed on the right side of the pulpit, 
she must by this time have been a widow Anne Long Thomas's 
daughter, Anna Long Thomas, married Jones Fuller, "son of 
Bartholomew and Sarah Cook Fuller" in 1846 (Williams family bible), 
and became in 1847 the grandmother of Edwin Wylie Fuller, future 
poet and novelist, who will appear holding church offices in the 1870s. 

"There, too," Brooks continues, "were Mrs. Mary Perm, Mrs. Knib 
Thomas, Mrs. Jack Thomas, and Miss Susan Foster. Mrs. Ben Ballard, 
with her little children, sat also in the Amen corner. While seated near 
was Mrs. Lucy Massenburg and her children, and mv mother, Mrs. 
[D.S.] Hill, with her little ones" (pp. 5-6). 

Mrs. Mary Thomas Perm was a daughter of Anne Long Thomas 
and Jordan Thomas, who built their home on the west side of Main 


Street in the middle of the block between Noble and Sunset streets 
(since the 1980s the home of the Phillip Stovers). She was thus a 
granddaughter of Sarah Richmond Long Shine. E. H. Davis knew her 
well and quotes her often, devoting Chapter LXXIII of his book to her. 
He described her as "a walking encyclopedia of information, both 
ecclesiastical and secular" (p. 244). Her husband, Davis wrote, was Dr. 
Abram Perm, a prominent member of the Methodist Conference in the 
period around the 1840s. He was a relative of John Perm, a North 
Carolina signer of the Declaration of Independence, who was an 
"extensive land holder" in Franklin County (p. 251). Davis describes 
her as corpulent, "with a mein and cast of countenance that . . .made 
her one to be noted in any group." She had a habit of warning her 
restive listeners that the time would come when they would want to 
know more about what she was telling them. And that was true, Davis 
affirmed (p. 252). 

Mrs. Knib Thomas is probably the wife of Thomas K. Thomas, 
identified in the Louisburg North Carolina Times on May 13, 1848, as 
a merchant advertising bacon and lard for sale (E. H. Davis, p. 148). 
He was elected director with eleven others of the Louisburg Female 
College for one year in 1857, as reported in the Louisburg American 
Eagle on June 6, 1857 (E. H. Davis, p. 224). Thomas K. Thomas 
became owner of what became the Portis Gold Mining Company after 
Thomas was appointed administrator of the estate of the original 
owner, John Portis, upon his death in 1850. The war had halted mining 
operations, and Thomas was probably forced to sell, to the Portis Gold 
Mining Company, a corporation with offices in Philadelphia, because 
of post-war financial conditions (Pearce, Franklin County, p. 69). 

Mrs. Jack Thomas was probably Mrs. John E. Thomas, whose 
husband must have been on the family tree of Jordan Thomas, the 
husband of Anne Long. He served in the North Carolina legislature as 
representative in 1842 and as senator in 1846 (E. H. Davis, p. 145). 

Miss Susan Foster may be one of two people by that name who 
appear on the Foster family tree (Joyner). One was a daughter, born in 
1814, of Dr. Peter Stapleton Foster, graduate in the 1840s of the 
medical school of the University of Pennsylvania, who practiced in this 
area for some years at mid-century (Two other doctors by the name of 
Foster practiced in this area; all were brothers.) The other Susan Foster 
was a student enrolled at the Louisburg Female Academy between 
1815 and 1817 (E. H. Davis, p. 41; from papers of Joel King, Duke 
Special Collections Library). 

Mrs. Ben Ballard also can be identified by means of her family. A 
Benjamin Ballard, probably her son, as she had littie children at the 
time of which Brooks wrote, was a student at Franklin Academy in 
1866-1867 (E. H. Davis, p. 293). The same son, probably, was the Ben 



' k nr i "' W 1 

Louisburg Methodist Church, 1850-1900. From the collection of Margaret Howard, 
Church Historian in the mid-20th century. 

Ballard elected to the North Carolina legislature in 1905 (E. H. Davis, 
p. 215). Other Ballards in Franklin County fought in the Civil War; 
and one of these was a novelist, Robert Edgar Ballad, who published 
Myrtle Lawn in Philadelphia in 1877 ( E. H. Davis, p. 193). A son of N. 
B. Massenburg named Benjamin Ballard Massenburg practiced law in 
Louisburg, according to his notices in the Franklin Times, for several 
decades after the Civil War. 

"Mrs. Lucy Massenburg and her children" were present in the 
Amen corner. E. H. Davis refers to her as "Mrs. Lucy Massenburg of 
blessed memory" (p. 27). She was the daughter of Archibald Davis, a 
well-to-do planter of the Cypress Creek section of Franklin County 
(Davis, p. 27). She married Nicholas Bryor Massenburg, and their 
home was the house called "Woodleaf" two miles northeast of 
Louisburg on Highway 56, since the 1980s the home of Bill Lord and 
Sue Guerrant and their family. N. B. Massenburg's notable diary, 
1834-1850, now in the UNC Southern Historical Collection (later 
volumes are in the hands of descendants), records in part his farming 
operations on this plantation as well as on hundreds of acres on Fox 
Swamp and Sandy Creek. The diary also records their attendance at 
religious services at many of the county chapels. 

"My mother, Mrs. Hill, with her little ones" is the last person listed 
on the women's side of the church. Susan Irwin Toole Hill was the wife 
of Daniel Shine Hill, who was the son of Charles Applewhite Hill and 
"Grandma Hill" (Rebecca Wesley Long Hill), the first listed on the 
woman's side. Susan Hill was the daughter of Geraldus Toole 


(1759-1846), that "wealthy planter" of Edgecombe County who 
married Elizabeth King, the daughter of John King. Geraldus Toole 
bought a house and 300 acres of land in Franklin County in 1799 
because the environs of Tarboro were not good for his health. He 
retained his Edgecombe County holdings, leaving them in the care of 
his "steward," as Asbury referred to him in his journal, a Mr. Davidson. 
Toole had frequently entertained Asbury and his party in Tarboro and 
had built "Toole's meeting house," in which they preached (Carroll, 
pp. 143-197). 

Moving to the right of the pulpit, Brooks lists "Mr. Joel King, Mr. 
Jones Fuller, Mr. Peyton Brown, Mr. Nick Massenburg, Mr. Tom 
Carlisle, Dr. Ellis Malone, Mr. James Dent, Mr. William Furman, Mr. 
John King, Mr. A. H. Ray, Mr. M. S. Davis " (p. 6). 

To Joel King, E. H. Davis devotes the whole of Chapter LXXIV of 
Historical Sketches of Franklin County, describing him in the first 
sentence as the "leading business man of Louisburg and all the ajacent 
country . . . the town's outstanding and leading citizen" (p. 278). He 
filled a number of offices: member of the North Carolina House of 
Representatives, 1826, 1827; one of five commissioners appointed to 
superintend the building of the Female Academy building, 1814; 
administrator of the estate of Matthew Dickinson, first headmaster of 
the Franklin Male Academy, who died in 1809; treasurer of the Tar 
River Navigation Company, organized in the protracted effort to make 
the Tar navigable to Louisburg; postmaster of Louisburg; "banker for a 
large territory while there was no bank"; trustee, secretary, and 
treasurer of the academies, both male and female (E. H. Davis, pp. 24, 
40, 59, 209, 278). Joel King (1778-1863) was the second child and 
oldest son of John King. He married Martha Elizabeth Long, daughter 
of Sarah Richmond and Gabriel Long. Their home was on the east side 
of North Main Street between Nash and Franklin, and their children 
were Helen Kate, who married Robert John Shaw, a Scotsman (the 
Shaw place was on the corner of Main and and Franklin); John G., 
often mentioned in church records at mid-century, who never married; 
Dr. William R.; and Benjamin. Joel King's office in a big frame 
building on Nash Street was for years "the center — the hub," and "in 
and from that back room . . . there centered and radiated many different 
lines of local activity: financial, educational, social, political, and all the 
rest" (E. H. Davis, p. 278). For some years he was a business partner of 
his brother-in-law Geraldus Toole of Edgecombe and Franklin 
counties. Joel King was at times on the official board of the Methodist 
church. The Kings bought and occupied Green Hill after the departure 
of Green Hill in 1799, and they are buried there. 

Jones Fuller (1808-1888) was, according to the Williams family 
bible, the son of Bartholomew Fuller and Sarah Cook Fuller, who were 


married in 1794. Jones Fuller married Anna Long Thomas, daughter 
of Anne Long Thomas, daughter of Grandma Shine, on May 13, 1846. 
He was a Louisburg merchant and the father of the poet and novelist 
Edwin Wiley Fuller. He was superintendent of the Sunday school, 
according to Brooks, and class leader as well. He was made a member 
of the parsonage committee of 1860, and his significance is further 
indicated by the fact that, when Louisburg citizens organized a 
deputation to surrender Louisburg to General Sherman in Raleigh, 
Jones Fuller was one of its members (E. H. Davis, pp. 191, 197). 

Nicholas Bryor Massenburg (5 April 1806-1872), the husband of 
Lucy Davis Massenburg, was the son of Cargill and Ann Massenburg 
(Massenburg papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC). He 
maintained a large-scale farming operation and wrote an extensive 
diary concerning its functioning. He was one of the purchasing trustees 
of the first church in town at Nash and Elm in 1830, and thirty years 
later, in 1860, he was on the committee to provide a parsonage for the 
newly formed station. 

In his notable diary, almost every day of every week is accounted for 
between 1834 and about 1850. In addition to work going forward on 
his plantations, he records days spent with friends and relatives, both at 
his house and theirs. On each Sunday he records what "preaching" he 
or they attended or indicates why there was none to attend. On rainy 
Sundays in general they did not go to church. Usually they went to 
"preaching" in town (Louisburg). Listed on some Sunday between 
1834 and 1850 is surely the name of every circuit rider who rode the 
Tar River Circuit during these decades, along with every guest preacher 
and local preacher who happened to fill the pulpit on a particular 
Sunday Camp meetings were very significant; quarterly meetings were 
more important than regular preachings. He lists quarterly meetings at 
Ebeneezer, Shocco, and Trinity as well as Louisburg. He attended 
services also at Salem, Redbud, Plank Chapel, Haywoods, Prospect, 
Sarepta, Shady Grove, and the list goes on. His church attendance 
exceeded the limits of Franklin County. He went to Baptist and 
Presbyterian services when there was no Methodist service available. 
He was a critical listener, at least when he heard new or unfamiliar 
preachers: On 17 May 1835 he describes the preaching as "fair"; 
another preacher was "forcible and eloquent, but not sound." 

The significance of Methodism to its communicants is nowhere 
more apparent than in the Massenburg diaries. An agrarian society, 
consisting of many distinct communities centering upon meeting 
houses that brought together people from several communities, found 
its spiritual and much of its intellectual, cultural, and social life in the 
activities of its many churches. Granted that the academies, with their 
commencement activities, and the court sessions as well punctuated the 


pattern of weekly worship with significant periodic events for which 
residents of many scattered communities assembled. Nevertheless, the 
church provided the regular beat of their weekly lives. 

William H. Furman was a tailor running a business in Louis burg 
and advertising in the North Carolina Times for 13 May 1848 (E. H. 
Davis, p. 148). The name Furman appeared in church and town affairs 
from 1830, when Ricky Furman was one of the purchasing trustees of 
the church at Nash and Elm. On rosters of Confederate soldiers the 
names of Henry S. Furman and R. M. Furman appear (E. H. Davis, pp. 
126, 131). And the Franklin Times carried advertisements for Furman's 
Drug Store in the 1880s. 

James Dent belonged to a family numerous and active in 
Louisburg from its earliest days (E. H. Davis, p. 165). James Dent's 
daughter Lucy married James Adolphus ("Dolly") Thomas, editor 
from 1875 of the Courier and later of the Franklin Times. Two of the 
Dents were non-commissioned officers in the Confederate army (E. H. 
Davis, p. 131), and four Dents from Lexington, Mississippi, probably 
sons of a resettling Dent, were students at the Franklin Academy in 
1866-1867 (E. H. Davis, p. 293). The notable descendant of James 
and Lucy Dent Thomas active in the Louisburg Methodist Church in 
1997 is Joseph A. Pearce, organist and historian. 

The "Mr. John King" listed by Brooks is John G. King, son of Joel 
King. E. H. Davis reported (p. 150) that he never married, probably 
because he was frustrated in his desire to marry Miss Sophia Partridge, 
from Newark, New Jersey, niece of Harriet Partridge Bobbitt, who was 
the wife of John Bobbitt, first Franklin County native to be headmaster 
of the Franklin Academy. Harriet Partridge Bobbitt, a New Englander, 
came to Louisburg in 1815 to be headmistress of the female academy 
(Willard, p. 22, 32). Sophia Partridge later established her own school 
for girls in Raleigh. 

Asher H. Ray was principal of the Franklin Male Academy from 
1845 till 1850 and joint principal with his wife Jane Curtis Ray of the 
Louisburg Female Academy, 1845-1856. He died in 1856 (Willard, p. 
43). Pauline Brooks was a child of two or three at the time of Ray's 
death; her impressions must have come from verbal accounts of a man 
highly esteemed in Louisburg. 

Peyton Brown was a dry-goods merchant advertising in a local 
paper in 1848. He was a stockholder with eleven others in the 
Louisburg Female College in 1857 (E. H. Davis, pp. 148, 224). 
"Sonny" Brown, in 1998 often an usher for Church services, is a 
contemporary descendant. 

Dr. Ellis Malone was the progenitor of the long line of Malones 
residing in Louisburg for the past century and a half. He won his 
medical degree from an institution in New York City and came to 


Louisburg from Warren County, having moved there from his 
native' Person County. In Warren County he married Mary Hill (b. 
1810), one of the daughters of Charles A. Hill, who was at that time 
maintaining the Midway school between Warrenton and Louisburg. 
Malone spent several years in northern Mississippi (his relatives there 
were his brother-in-law Kemp P. Hill and Judge Walter Malone), but 
he eventually returned to Louisburg (E. H. Davis, p. 287). In 
Louisburg, he married a second daughter of Hill, Martha Caroline, in 
1849. She died in Louisburg in 1898. A son, Ellis, attended Franklin 
Academy in 1866-1870 (E. H. Davis, p. 293; Account Book of 
Franklin Male Academy), and he in turn was the father of two lawyers, 
Edwin and James Ellis, both of whom practiced law in Louisburg in 
the first half of the twentieth century. 

"Mr. M. S. Davis," last mentioned among the men in the 
congregation, became in 1856 Pauline Brooks's brother-in-law. He 
married Sarah Louisa Hill (1836-1931), whom Brooks does not 
mention in her list of women present. When Brooks wrote her account 
in 1899, Matthew Davis was president of Louisburg College, which 
was Pauline Brooks's hospice when she died of cancer in 1904. 

Matthew S. Davis was born in Warren County near Inez in 1830. 
He attended the Franklin Academy in the 1840s and studied under 
Asher H. Ray, who, as headmaster of the Female Academy, sat near his 
former pupil in Brooks's memory of the congregation. (This 
conjunction was possible only early in 1856; Davis became headmaster 
in January 1856; Asher Ray died later in 1856). Davis was also a 
student of Turner Myrick Jones before attending the University of 
North Carolina, from which he graduated in 1855. He then returned 
to Louisburg to be headmaster of the male academy. He married upon 
his return and proceeded to complete work off-campus for a master's 
degree from the University, awarded in 1858. He continued as 
headmaster, supporting a growing family, until 1880, when, local 
people being unable to afford the fees of the academy, he moved to the 
Egerton Place on the Bunn road to farm. For several years prior to 
1884 he was superintendent of Franklin County public schools (NC 
Biography). He was also president of the Franklin County Farmer's 
Alliance in the early 1890s. By 1896 he had moved his farming 
operation to Green Hill. During this period he also served as treasurer 
of Franklin County (the Times reported on 25 January 1889 that he 
would "be in Louisburg every Saturday until further notice"). In 1896 
his daughter Mary persuaded him to take the presidency of Louisburg 
College, with herself as dean. 

Davis was active in the Methodist church throughout these years. 
He served on various committees, as a Sunday-school teacher, as 


superintendent of the Sunday school, as delegate to conferences, and as 
a steward. 

Among notables of the congregation to whom Brooks gives 
attention was "Parson Arnold." The Reverend William Arendall was a 
local preacher who was, like Daniel Shine before him, a mainstay of the 
congregation. Massenburg heard him preach in Louisburg many times 
in the years covered by the diary; between February and July in 1834, 
he preached in Louisburg three times that Massenburg notes. William 
Arendall married Ann Gholson. The Arendall family was extensive in 
the area from a first mention in 1795, in the records E. H. Davis 
consulted, until the post-Civil War era, when the Parson's two 
daughters, Martha and Frances, taught a school in Louisburg in their 
house then standing diagonally across Franklin Street from the present 
post office. Parson Arnold was never a member of the Methodist 
Conference; although it seems improbable that he himself had come 
from England, legend had it that he never severed his connection with 
the Anglican church in the "old country" (E. H. Davis, p. 244). The 
regularity with which William Ormond referred in his diary to 
stopping overnight at "Arndal's" in the 1790s suggests that the family 
was well and extensively established probably somewhat west from 
Louisburg (in 1810a Thomas Arendell was taxed on 1002 acres of land 
[E. H. Davis, p. 82]). "For more than a half century," Brooks wrote, 
"he married the young people, christened the infants, and buried the 
dead of the community His long white hair, reaching to his shoulders, 
and his dignified form gave him a most patriarchal appearance." 
Further, his "looks adorned the venerable place," and "in his duty, 
prompt at every call/ He watched and wept, and prayed for all." 

Nicholas Massenburg, in a letter from Woodleaf dated 20 February 
1861, wrote that "Brother Arendall is still in pain and no hopes for his 
recovering" (Massenburg Collection, UNC). The good "Parson 
Arnold" must have departed this life in 1861. 

One of the daughters of "Parson Arnold/Arendell," Ann Gholson 
Arendell, married Dr. William Closs (E. H. Davis, p. 243). Brooks 
mentions him as follows: "Nor would the history of this Church be 
complete without the name of Dr. William Closs, who, though he 
never served the [Louisburg] Church in official capacity, lived here and 
was widely known." E. H. Davis describes him as "a leading minister of 
the Methodist Church" and, presumably among other appointments, 
as presiding elder of the New Bern District (p. 96). He was "absolutely 
unique"; no one was more "widely remembered," and his jokes, 
witticisms, and pleasantries were "often quoted." "While never 
courting a controversy, [he] never avoided one, theological or 
otherwise"(p. 97). Davis tells the story of his giving a litde branch on 
his property the name by which it is still designated on maps of 


Franklin County. On the floor of the Methodist Conference, a certain 
Dr. B. introduced himself as having come from "the classic banks of the 
majestic Roanoke, that noble stream that takes its rise in the Blue 
Ridge Mountains of Carolina and Virginia and then winds its way 
through the rich alluvial . . .," etc. To this Dr. Closs answered, "I come 
from the banks of Jump and Run, a feeble litde branch that rises a few 
hundred yards up the bottom in front of where I live, winds its 
uncertain course through my pasture in which my cows and pigs get 
water when it is doing any business at all and then goes I don't know 
where, but wherever it goes, if it goes at all, I think I have made all the 
answer needed to a good part if not all of what you have heard" (p. 97). 

Whitaker describes Dr. Closs as "one of the strongest preachers of 
his day, and perhaps the best known in the State" (p. 35) and quotes his 
humorous retorts extensively. Dr. R. S. Moran was once annoyed with 
an old lady's shouting during service. The congregation defended her 
against Moran's protests, saying that it would be a sacrilege to interfere 
with the religious enjoyment of the good soul. Closs defended Moran: 
anyone who would shout during such good preaching as Moran's 
should be arrested. 

Although he spent his last years elsewhere, Dr. Closs was 
mentioned in the Franklin Times at least twice after his death. On one 
occasion a memorial fund was being established to honor him; on 
another (1 July 1887) the editor quoted his humorous (and racist, in 
the manner of the time) definition of a scalawag. 

Among Civil War soldiers from Franklin County was 2d 
Lieutenant William A. Closs, Companv E, 7th Regiment (E. H. Davis, 
p. 124). 

Though never appointed to the Louisburg church, Closs 
occasionally preached there: Nicholas Massenburg noted in the diary 
on 22 Oct. 1843 that Dr. Closs had preached ("Lucy goes, I stay with 

Brooks continues her description of the congregation of the 
station. "In the gallery opposite the pulpit were gathered the choir, one 
of the best in any church in the Conference at the time, it was said." The 
choir was led by her father, Daniel Shine Hill, whom his parents 
Charles A. and Rebecca Long Hill named for Daniel Shine. 

D. S. Hill (1812-1873) was perpetually an official of the church as 
well as of the academies; he was frequently in correspondence with 
potential headmasters. From 1859 until 1872, the years covered by a 
surviving record book, he was the "Recording Steward" of the church. 
He early assisted his father with instruction at Midway Academy (E. H. 
Davis, p. 51). He married Susan Irwin Toole, daughter of Geraldus 
Toole of Edgecombe and Franklin counties, in 1835, and the couple 
inherited land from her father. They lived first near Ingleside, and their 


land stretched to what became the Allen place on Highway 561. They 
later lived in the house at "Allendale." About 1850, as parents of many 
daughters as well as several sons, they chose to move closer to 
Louisburg and built "Sunnyside," on the present site of the Franklin 
Medical Center. D. S. Hill was one of the founders of the Friends of 
Temperance; and he was appointed to the State Convention of 1861 
(D. S. Hill Collection, Duke). His daughter Louisa remembered 
attending with him a Whig political convention in Charleston, South 
Carolina, in the 1850s. 

In the 1870s the Hills lost their land and house through a friend's 
defaulting on a note; they spent their last years in the Noble house on 
Noble Street in Louisburg. 

Her father, Brooks wrote, had a "rich, mellow voice," which was 
supported by those of "Mrs. [Martha Hill] Malone, his sister," the 
second wife of Dr. Ellis Malone, "and Mrs. Jordan Barrow aiding him 
in soprano. Mrs. Jones Fuller," the former Ann Thomas, and Miss 
Celeste Malone were "tenors, frequentiy aided by Mrs. Barrow; Misses 
Ella Noble, Anna Brown, and Madeline Hill, altos. Mr. Joel Thomas 
and Mr. William Furman sang bass." Madeline Hill was a daughter of 
D. S. Hill; born in 1839, she married James H. Best. 

There was at this time no organ, and the tuning fork was the only 
instrument used, but the choir was well trained. "What rare, sweet 
music that was!" The familiar hymns were known as Zion, Coronation, 
Sessions, Dundee, Silver Street, etc. Brooks fondly quoted passages 
from familiar hymns sung by the choir: 

When for eternal worlds I steer 

And seas are calm and skies are clear . . . 

There is a beautiful world where sorrow never comes . . . 
How happy every child of grace .... 

The hymns sung by the congregation she remembers with elation: 

Heaven came down their souls to greet, 
And glory crowned the mercy seat. 

An alumnae speaker at Louisburg College referred to D. S. Hill's 
function as choir master in her description of a church service attended 
by College students {Franklin Times, 24 August 1900). Mrs. Maggie 
Arthur Call described the "old church" as looking "just as it looked 
thirty years ago on the holy Sabbath. The girls wore blue uniforms, 


town boys stole glances at them, and the teachers were watchful. 'From 
the gallery there rose a glad refrain,/ "Amazing Grace" was the sweet 
old strain./ Brave Daniel Hill the tune then led/ As we slowly bowed 
'round the table spread.'" 

Two annual conferences were held in Louisburg during these years. 
In 1852 Bishop Capers presided, and the sessions were held in the 
Female Academy. In 1861 the annual conference was presided over by 
Bishop J. O. Andrew, and the sessions were held in the College chapel. 

Sunday Evening Service, 1856. "WJ.T., Hickory, N.C., July 23rd, 
1899" sent the Franklin Times z reminiscence of Louisburg in 1856. He 
was, he wrote, "a country boy, from a dark corner in the backwoods" 
who "entered the male academy in the then litde village on the Tar" 
which is now (1899) a prosperous town. He relates "one of my first 
litde adventures, attended by embarassing circumstances." "I took a 
fair young damsel of some twelve or fourteen summers to church one 
night, things were not arranged then as now, even in town, the 
gentlemen and ladies did not sit together in church, there was also two 
doors, one for the men to enter and the other for the women, so a 
fellow had to hand his girl in at her door and go around to his door and 
enter. Well, so I did." 

But the great size of the Sunday night congregation defeated and 
embarassed him. "When church was out I made my exit as soon as I 
could, the press being very great, to claim my girl when she came out. I 
took my stand at the door and stood till the last lady came out, but my 
girl failed to come, at least I failed to find her and had to go home alone 
and face the lady with whom I was boarding without my girl, and as we 
started from there I felt sure she would ask me where she was, and I 
being unable to say But it was easy enough when explained. She being 
young and unused to things as well as I, came out first, and not seeing 
me feared she would be left, so went on home with others another way 
and left me in the lurch." 

However, that doesn't mean country boys have no sense. "Most 
country boys, I presume, have experienced similar embarassments, if 
not in the same form, on first entrance to town schools, for town boys 
always think they are smarter than country boys, and are ready to poke 
fun at them. But I have mingled much with both and find they are 
wofully mistaken, for the average country boy has more hard horse 
sense than three town boys, that being what takes one through the 
world, and without which there is no go, though we may have all the 
book learning the world contains." 


Aunt Abby House. It is hard to justify including Aunt Abby in a 
history of the Louisburg Methodist Church in view of the fact that she 
did not live in Louisburg. She lived for the most part on her farm near 
Franklin ton, where she is buried; in her last years, she lived in Raleigh 
in a small house near the present Raleigh Little Theatre, a house built 
for her by Confederate veterans. She had probably lost her farm to debt 
or sold land to assist her many nephews (Pearce, II, 21). Through 
much of her life she had litde use for preachers, who had called her a 
"wicked woman" for her swearing (Pearce, II, 10). But late in life, in 
1875, she was converted by William Capers Norman (E. H. Davis, p. 
236) and became a Methodist, and at the centennial of Methodism in 
North Carolina, celebrated in Raleigh in 1876, she sat on the platform 
with three bishops. (It has not been explained, and some people asked 
at the time, why she had a seat on the platform; it was probably because 
she took one.) Furthermore, William Capers Norman was minister of 
the Louisburg Methodist Church from 1880 until 1884. Aunt Abby 
died in 188 1 . In addition, in life, Aunt Abby did not accept exclusion. 

Chief accounts of Abigale House are those of Pearce (1972), E. FI. 
Davis (1948), R. H. Whitaker (1905), from whom Davis quotes two 
chapters of anecdotes, and York (1988). A few episodes will 
characterize Abigail House, the determining event of whose life was 
losing her sweetheart in the War of 1812; she walked from Franklin 
County to Norfolk to nurse him through an illness, only to find him 
dead and buried when she arrived. The era of her signal activity was the 
Civil War, when she walked to major battlefields, first to care for her 
nephews, then to nurse other soldiers and become known as the 
"Confederate angel of mercy" (York). When she had no money she 
rode trains by intimidating conductors. When she wanted to see 
Governor Zebulon Vance, she walked into his office. When she 
thought Robert E. Lee was laughing at Zeb Vance's letter, she 
threatened to crack his head. She even appeared in political cartoons of 
the time, in association with Zeb Vance (Pearce, II, 9). 

When a Union soldier told her at Appomatox that she need not 
"shake that rag" to show that she surrendered because "we don't care 
whether you surrender," she said to him, "Drat your mean soul, if I had 
a gun I'd shoot you off that horse and leave you here for the buzzards to 
pick" (Davis, p. 237, quoting Whitaker). She said that she cooked the 
last meal Jefferson Davis ate in North Carolina when he fled south after 
the surrender. Walking into Governor Vance's office after the surrender 
and finding it occupied by Union officers, she told them that she was in 
a den of thieves. Pearce reports that the vote to nominate Zeb Vance for 
governor which she cast for Clay County at the Democratic State 
Convention of 1877, acceptable because a large proportion of those 


attending were Confederate veterans (II, p. 9), was probably the first 
political vote cast by a woman in the state of North Carolina. 

When the centennial of Louisburg was celebrated in 1879 by an 
enormous crowd in an impressive production in the Academy Grove, 
Governor Vance spoke. Aunt Abby was standing erect in the audience, 
and she "frequently ejaculated a hearty amen to all he said, emphasizing 
her words by a cut of the eye and a toss of the head, peculiar alone to 
Aunt Abby" (Willard, 135). 

The war record of Abigail House would soon be forgotten, Davis 
predicted, because the "men who wore the gray," to whom she 
ministered when they were "sick and wounded on the Virginia hills," 
were fast dying out. It has not been so; she lives on in print. Described 
as "rough looking," illiterate, profane when she was "riled up," a 
"bunchy figure" in "old-time clothes and fly bonnet," dressed in calico 
or homespun, smoking a corncob pipe, and wearing a black cape and 
an expression that dared anyone to try to take advantage of her — she 
challenged the definitions of the belle and the southern lady; she was 
aggressively neither Scarlett nor Melanie. Unhampered by the 
strictures of her time, she achieved unique statue. Becoming a 
Methodist was part of the ground she covered in her long journey. 

A Church for Two Races. As bury consistently reported the presence 
at Methodist sermons and the conversions of black folk as of white. The 
Louisburg church stewards and ministers followed the same custom. 
On 30 May 1864, for example, the preacher in charge, Thomas W 
Guthrie, reported to the quarterly conference that "sixteen (16) white 
persons have been received in full connection in the Church and four 
col'd persons have been received on probation and seven in full 
connection." Brooks, when she looked back in memory from 1899 to 
the 1850s, wrote, "We would not forget the kind faces of those who 
filled the gallery reserved for the colored people. Their clear, ringing 
voices added much to the melody of song, and [their] emphatic 
Amens' afforded much help and encouragement to a timid young 
preacher" (p. 7). "After the War," she continued, "many of the colored 
members of the Church withdrew their membership. A few still clung 
to the old Church, however. Of these none was more faithful than Aunt 
Harriet Yarborough, whose seat in the gallery was seldom vacant" (p. 
8). In October 1866, according to Quarterly Conference minutes, 
these "few" were almost one third of the membership (152 to 43). 

E. H. Davis wrote concerning the gallery set aside for their use that 
there was "access by steps and a door from the outside." How this was 
accomplished architecturally is hard to see, looking at pictures of the 
"first brick church," but Davis was there, as a child, and one senses his 
lament at the end of this arrangement, which occurred in 1866. "When 


Dr. [Turner Myrick] Jones moved the Female College here from 
Greensboro after its destruction there by fire, he asked for that gallery 
for his pupils. It was granted. I was then a mere lad that Sunday 
morning when these colored members came and were denied 
admission to their gallery. The Presbyterian Church among that race 
took origin from that day and episode. And Methodism has never 
flourished among them since" (E. H. Davis, p. 292). Did no adult in 
the congregation respond to this scene with the sense of loss 
experienced by the six-year-old Eddie Davis? Both Eddie and his Aunt 
Pauline, who was twelve at the time, described the event with a 
sensitivity which, in their reports of it in middle and old age, were 
filtered through the complex social patterns of racial separation and 
segregation which evolved in the South in their lifetime (the emphasis 
on the separate entrance, the departure described as though it were 
voluntary). Even so, both found the scene that ended the biracial 
church memorable. 

Still, on 1 October 1866, the preacher in charge, J. A. Cunninggim, 
reported a membership of 152 whites and 43 "colored." By 1866 these 
"colored" members were free — to stay away from the Methodist 
church, having been offered no substitute for their appropriated 
balcony. Also on 1 October 1866 the Rev. Turner Myrick Jones's 
character was formally examined by the stewards prior to his being 
elected district steward; he had already been elected to the board of 
stewards. At the quarterly conference of 11 February 1867, the 
question "What is the general state of the church?" was answered as 
follows: "The following persons have withdrawn during the past yr. 
Viz: Louis H. Williams. J. T Furgurson. B. F. Harris Ross Harris Mary 
D. Bowers, Ann H. Bowers. Marian S Norwood. Henry H. Mann & 
Mary Massenburg." No explanation or comment. And in the minutes 
for 18 September 1868, no explanation was offered for "24 have 
withdrawn by certificate [to transfer elsewhere] — No of white 
members 135." So the "few who remained" following emancipation 
were then gone, including the devoted Harriet Yarborough. 

Edwin Fuller Describes A Pre-Civil War Congregation 

In his novel Sea-Gift , the Louisburg writer Edwin Fuller, whose 
biography will appear later, described a "Sabbath in the country." When 
he wrote the novel in the 1870s, Fuller was living in Louisburg, but the 
novel is set in Wilmington, which he knew well because his cousins on 
his mother's side lived there. The episode occurs at the country home 
of the fictional Smith family outside Wilmington. Shortly after this 
episode, the main character and first-person narrator, John Smith, will 


enter the University in Chapel Hill, with two of his friends. Late in his 
college career he will leave the University to join the Confederate army. 
On this Sunday John does not attend church because he is fevered from 
his first brash encounter with a cigar. 

Dinner on the Grounds. "Sabbath is stamped on the entire premises. 
The negroes, bedecked in all the finery of ribbons and beads, have just 
trooped in long droves through the gate and gone to preaching. Down 
at the quarters there is one old negro sitting at the door of her cabin, 
with her head bowed down to her knees as she ties around it her broad 
yellow kerchief. Her slight motion as she does this, and the faint 
monotonous wail of an infant left in her care, are all the evidences of life 
in the long row of tenements." 

His mother and his two friends return from church. Frank, who has 
already displayed his qualifications as the villain of the novel, describes 
the experience. "Long before we got to the church we began to pass 
crowds of people who were walking thither; the men dressed in long 
sack coats of homespun, with immensely loose pants and dusty shoes, 
most of them carrying in their arms bare-legged, white-headed babies, 
who were employed in looking backwards over their fathers' shoulders, 
and mostly gnawing very large fat biscuits; the women were arrayed in 
bright flowered calico robes, which they kicked up behind at every step. 
They all had stick tooth brushes in their mouths, and long- tailed fly 
bonnets, which they carried in their hands. Then we passed others who, 
a little better off, were riding in red painted wagons, drawn by 
rope-harnessed mules, which trotted along so briskly, under the kindly 
influences of overgrown boys and hickory sticks, that the folks in the 
body were jolted from side to side of their split bottomed chairs. Then 
we overtook the cumbrous carriages of the well-to-do farmers, with 
heavy-headed, clumsy-footed horses, the low boots full of fodder, and 
large trunks full of dinner, strapped on behind. As many of these and 
other vehicles as we passed, yet when we got to the church we found 
the grove full of horses, buggies, carriages and wagons, and so many 
people out doors that I began to fear the preacher would have no 

"At the foot of every tree in sight was a group of men engaged in the 
solemn occupation of whittling twigs and spitting. When we got to the 
door of the church, which was a large barn-looking structure, we found 
it full, and with difficulty got seats near the door. Such a mixture of 
people I never saw before. Here a silk by the side of cotton check, a 
broadcloth coat touching a copperas striped one, and a silk hat resting 
in the window with one of wheat straw, bound with green ribbon. As I 
could see very little but the backs of the people's heads, I cannot tell 
much about the congregation, except that the men for the most part 


had very long and very dry hair, which they wore bushy, while the 
women had theirs plaited in two strings and crossed like wicker-basket 
handles. The girls wore straw hats trimmed with ribbons, whose colors 
were of the rainbow that we may imagine would appear on a cloudy 
day. The elderly ladies wore bonnets that looked as if Noah's wife had 
made them for pastime while she was in the ark, and had fitted them on 
the goat's head for the want of a better block." 

Frank here begins to describe the preacher in the same vein. "The 
preacher himself was queer looking, and had a monotonous drawling 
tone." Frank presents himself in the middle of the room to imitate the 
preacher's style. "Ah! my brethren and sistern-er, where are we to-day? 
'Ere we are in the narrer road." He is quickly silenced by Mrs. Smith. 
Frank defends himself by saying "they don't belong to our church, and 
he wasn't preaching to us." But Mrs. Smith insists "he was preaching 
the Gospel of Christ, and however defective his sermon, we should not 
ridicule it." 

Leaving the preacher, Frank proceeds to describe the dinner on the 
grounds. "All over the grove the white cloths were being spread like 
gigantic snow flakes, and almost as numerous. Scores of negroes and 
ladies were unpacking great boxes, containing biscuit, rolls, cakes, ham, 
fowls, pickles, apples and peaches, and everybody was asking 
everybody to dine with them." The Smith group was invited by the 
Bembys, and Frank describes the carving, the serving, and the eating 
and affirms that "altogether the dinner was excellent ..." (p. 167). 

The Country People. In order to report the speech of the country 
people, Fuller has John visit the Bembys later in the day and repeat their 
conversation. Mrs. Bailey says, "It does me a sight of good to listen to 
Brother Weekly's preaching. He is so searchin' to the sinners and 
comfortin' to the saints. His sermins are well pinted, too, and not writ, 
neither. I just know in my soul, d'liver me from a writ sermin" (p. 169) . 

A deaf lady with an ear trumpet says, "Brother Weekly is always 
powerful in his lastly, and whedn I see old Udncle Jacob Sawney slap 
Sister Brewer in the back, and old Miss Parkidns twiss her cheer roudn 
to the wall, and git my Viney here to untie her specks, so she could rub 
her eyes, I knowed he was a having great freedobm; and thedn he got a 
leetle louder, and I thought I heerd him say: 'He'll meet us at the gate, 
Hisself;' and somethidng told me in my heart he meadnt the Lord, and 
I wadnted to go just thedn, for 'pears to me I'd be more welcome like ef 
He told me to come in." 

Mrs. Bailey asks whether they noticed "how he brought it out 
about the tares and the wheat. Seems to me, if I was a sinner I couldn't 
bear the thought of being sifted out and throwed away like a no'count 
cockle grain." Mrs. Bailey spades half an ounce of snuff into her mouth 


with her tooth brush. The visit ends soon after Mrs. Dodge inquires, 
"pointedly addressing me, Ts you a lover of the Lord, sir?"' 

A Gospel for Rich and Poor. At last Smith offers his own commentary, 
and possibly that of the author as well. He "turned homeward, thinking 
on the glorious Gospel of the Son of God — a Gospel that, with the 
same words, can comfort sister Bailey's simple heart, and bind up one 
bruised beneath a velvet robe — a Gospel for all the world! deep enough 
to baffle the sage — simple enough to save a child. God alone can be its 
Author!" In the pages that follow, Smith represents, in his own 
narrator's voice, the effect of these words upon the "rich and the wise," 
but this time the scene is second-hand and imaginary. First, however, he 
summarizes what has gone before: "Go to the rustic church, with its 
rude unpainted seats, its plain deal pulpit, with a pitcher of water and a 
cloth covered Bible on the unvarnished slab. Sit with the simple, 
illiterate congregation, and listen to the unpolished man in the pulpit 
as, with an effort he slowly reads his text: Tor God so loved the world 
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him 
should not perish but have eternal life.' Hear the story of the Cross told 
without rhetoric, and mark the faces around you, how they glow with 
faith and shine with tears." 

Now for "the rich and the wise." We stand on the "broad stone 
steps beneath the clanging chimes and gilded spire." The scene includes 
white-gloved drivers, prancing steeds, liveried footmen, silken trains. 
Inside there are purpled gloom, bright figures on the windows in the 
vaulted roof, cushioned seats, gas jets around the preacher's stand, etc. 

And there is an organ, to which Fuller devotes a full page, not to 
miss a chance for humor. (It is worthwhile to remember that an organ 
was placed in the Louisburg Methodist Church only in 1886, a decade 
after Fuller's death; judging from the following description, it must 
have been hard to get used to, following the pitch pipe and perhaps 
then the piano. Further, one must allow for the more primitive organ of 
the day. Fuller himself would have heard organs in Wilmington, Chapel 
Hill, and Charlottesville, not to mention New York.) "All is so hushed 
we almost expect the sermon to be whispered, when, with a trembling 
sob, as if its very pipes were sinful, the organ's wail of penitence is 
heard. Moaning and groaning at the very bottom of its voice, it grows 
louder and higher, till its weird minor strains peal through the church, 
as if its windy heart will burst, and still higher and higher it screams and 
shrieks, in its agony of remorse, then, with a galop down the scale, it 
breaks out into a lively polka of forgiveness, and is as happy as an organ 
can be, till its jig-and-break-down repertoire is exhausted, when it 
stands on one leg of a note and waits for the singing." 


Next comes a trill, "like a mocking bird's song at night," then a 
"high zooming tone" like a bee far up on the air. It "begins to dawn on 
us that perhaps a song is intended." But this idea is put to flight by the 
"sonorous bellowing of a bull over its slaughtered kindred." These 
three are joined by a "bronchial cat, unusually hoarse." At last, these 
four approximate a tune. 

Two members of the congregation indulge in supercilious criticism 
of the performance of the professionals in the choir; John Smith is 
conscious that the lips that sang the Te Deum may last have had an oath 
upon them or been prepared for their service in an "early bar-room." 
All of this, he thinks, "is so different from the little wooden church, that 
we almost feel that they are serving another God with a different 
religion. We feel out of place and disappointed, and are about to leave, 
when the preacher ascends the pulpit and announces his text: 'For God 
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. . . ."' The same 
verse that "brought tears from the simple minded, carries conviction to 
the heart of the rich and the wise," whether the sermon is "burdened 
with rhetorical roses or ridiculous in rustic exposition, or flagrant 
misconstruction. ..." 

Louisburg residents must avoid visualizing the Fuller house and 
grove on Main Street now occupied by the Stovers or one of the 
country churches at which a local or borrowed preacher might have 
been preaching, in spite of the fact that at the time people went to 
whatever church in the area offered a service. Fuller's impressions were 
formed both in Louisburg and in Wilmington. But, more important, 
he was writing fiction and clearly delighted in the elaborations it 


Account Book of the Franklin Male Academy, 1870-1880. Southern Historical 
Collection of the UNC Library, Chapel Hill. 

Bennett, William. Memorials of Methodism in Virginia. Richmond VA: Privately 
printed, 1871. 

Brooks, Pauline Hill (Mrs. John R.). "A Sketch of the Methodist Church, South, 
in Louisburg, N. C." Typescript, 9 pp. Salisbury, Oct. 3, 1899. Mabel I. Davis typed 
her aunt's handwritten document probably in the 1930s. Pauline Brooks (1854-1904) 
was the daughter of Daniel Shine Hill and Susan Irwin Toole Hill of Louisburg. Her 
husband was a member of the North Carolina Methodist Conference. Although it is 
clear that, to write this sketch in 1899, she projected herself in memory back into her 
childhood, she must also have had access to records of the circuit riders active before 
her birth. This document, from the attic at Green Hill, was made available thanks to 
Doris Marshall (Mrs. George) Davis. 


Car roll, Grady. Francis As bury in North Carolina. Nashville TN: Pantheon, 1965. 

Cotten, Bruce. Collection, Southern Historical Collection, UNC, Chapel Hill 

Davis, Edward Hill. Historical Sketches of Franklin County. Raleigh NC: Edwards 
and Broughton, 1948. Privately printed. 

Davis, Mabel I. "Methodism and Louisburg," Franklin Times, 13 June 1919. 

Fuller, Edwin Wiley. Sea-Gift. A Novel. New York: E. J. Hale & Son, 1873. 

Grissom, W. L. History of Methodism in North Carolina from 1772 to the Present 
Time [1905]. Nashville: Methodist Episcopal Publishing House, 1905, vol. 1. 

Hill/Davis Collection (#4393), Manuscript Collection of the Southern Historical 
Collection, Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Joyner, Kathryn Foster. Mrs. Joyner, a descendant of Peter Stapleton Foster, 
generously conferred on the Foster family records. 

Lewis, John Wesley. "Plan of Appointments for Tar River Circuit, 1847." Special 
Collections Library, Duke University. 

Massenburg, Nicholas B. Papers, Southern Historical Collection, University of 
North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. 

North Carolina Biography, Vol. Ill of North Carolina: The Old North State and the 
New. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1941. 

Pearce, Thilbert H. "Aunt Abby for the Confederacy." The State Magazine, vol. 
40, 1972, 1, Oct. 1, pp. 8-9, 24; II, Oct. 15, pp. 9-10, 21. 

Pearce, Thilbert H. Franklin County, 1779-1979. Freeman, SD: Pine Hill Press, 

Seawell, Ben Lee. The Genealogy of Col. Benjamin Seawell, Sr., and Lucy Hicks. 
Pasadena, CA, 1935. 

Whitaker, R. H. Whitaker's Reminiscences, Incidents and Anecdotes. Raleigh: 
Edwards and Broughton, 1905. Privately printed. 

W.J.T., "Louisburg of Long Ago." The Franklin Times, 4 August 1899. 

Willard, George- Anne. Louisburg College Echoes: Voices from the Formative Tears, 
1787-1917. Louisburg, North Carolina: Louisburg College, 1988. 

Willard, George-Anne. "Proud Celebrations of Franklin County's Vast..'" Franklin 
County Sketchbook. Franklin County-Louisburg Bicentenary Committee, 1982. 

Williams, William. "His book, left him by his father Richard Williams." New 
Testament owned by Dr. Melinda Whitaker of Louisburg. 

York, Maury. "House, Abby." In William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North 
Carolina Biography. Chapel Hill NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1988. 


Chapter 4 

The Civil War and the End of the 

Reports on The Ministers. The Church and the War. The Church, the 
Academies, and the College. Revivals and Conferences. Activities of the 
Congregation: Conduct Unbecoming a Methodist. Church-sponsored 
Entertainment. The Church and the Society. cc What Is Being Done for the 
Education of Youth?" The Woman's Missionary Society. A New Church 
Building: First, a New Parsonage. The 1900 Church Building. The Stained-glass 
Windows. The Bell and the Pulpit Furniture. Stewards, Trustees, and Notable 
Members of the Congregation. 

The pre-eminence of the Civil War in the lives of members of the 
congregation is unquestioned. Its very importance is the reason why 
they mention it only once in the surviving official records. It will be 
necessary to use other sources to show how the war affected the 
congregation in Louisburg. 

The foundations laid by the antebellum social order endured 
through the decades following the Civil War. In the post-war period in 
Louisburg, merchants, planters, and professionals bore essentially the 
same names as before the war. Although Reconstruction and its effects 
were not named in church records, these exercized significant influence 
in the town. Later the "trusts," especially the tobacco trust, which set 
low prices for tobacco, were actively opposed by members of the 
congregation, and the Times reported a speech by Governor Glenn to 
the effect that the power of the trusts should be curbed (22 January 
1909). Only in occasional references in the newspapers is it apparent 
that members of the congregation active in the church were also 
participants in the changes taking place in the society. 

After 1866 the church was no longer a church for two races. By 
1899, when society at large in the South was bent on preventing the 
former slaves from gaining political power, the church remained aloof, 
but some of the members were active. According to W E. B. DuBois, 
the low point for the black man in America was the turn of the century, 
when, in North Carolina, the Wilmington race riots, more recendy 
interpreted as a coup d'etat displacing a black elected government, gave 
expression to the movement for white supremacy. 


At the beginning of this period the Methodist church clearly 
dominated the Louisburg church scene, and the picture had scarcely 
changed at the end of the century. A reminiscence published in the 
Franklin Times on 4 August 1899, written by "W J. T." of Hickory, 
North Carolina, describes the scene in the late 1850s, when, he wrote, 
M. S. Davis had just begun teaching at the academy: "There were . . . 
four churches, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Baptist, the 
Presbyterian and Baptist being seldom used, services being regular at 
the Methodist and tolerably so at the Episcopal, but the Presbyterian 
and Baptist seldom had preaching and mosdy by itinerant ministers, 
having no regular pastors; only one Sunday School in town, the 

By 1888, however, the Times reported in the Church Directory that 
the Baptist services were held the "first and third Sundays each month, 
morning and night. Prayer meeting every Thursday night. Sunday 
school 9 o'clock a.m." The popular Reverend Baylus Cade was the 
minister (10 February 1888). 

In the Franklin Times it is apparent throughout this era that 
ministers and religious events referred to without indication of 
denomination are Methodist; if they are not, the denomination is 
mentioned. The editor, James Adolphus Thomas, "known well over the 
state," E. H. Davis wrote, as "Dolly" Thomas, was a Methodist who 
came to Louisburg from Raleigh in 1875 and married Lucy Dent, a 
descendant of one of Louisburg's earliest citizens (p. 165). 

Methodism predominated in the state legislature, the editor 
reported on 10 February 1899. In the senate there were sixteen 
Methodists, many more than of any of the half-dozen other 
denominations he lists. In the House of Representatives there were 
thirty Methodists, again by far the greatest number for any 

The "Church Directory" of the Franklin Times early in the decades 
of the editorship of James A. Thomas lists the regular offerings of the 
various churches. On Friday, 16 October 1886, "METHODIST— Rev. 
A. McCullen, pastor. Services every Sunday morning and night. Prayer 
meeting every Wednesday night. Sunday school 9 o'clock AM." Later 
the Sunday-school superintendent, George Strother Baker, will also be 

Reports on the Ministers 

A few of the ministers listed in Chap. 3 as "preachers in charge" of 
the Louisburg station were characterized in surviving reactions of 
contemporary Louisburg residents. William Capers Norman was one 


of these. In the Franklin Times for 29 November 1880, the editor 
entered this comment in the notes under the masthead: "REV. W. C. 
NORMAN. This most excellent divine has acted as pastor of the 
Methodist church in this place for the past year, and we think that we 
express the sentiments of the entire community, when we [write] that 
his return here will be gr[eady] acceptable. He has made a very 
favorable impression upon his congregation and also upon the whole 
people of Louisburg and surrounding community." The general 
conference would meet on 1 December. Norman served Louisburg 
until 1884. The Times follows Norman's career to Raleigh: In early 
December 1887 it notes that the Rev. Mr. Norman, "who has a host of 
friends and admirers in this section, ended his four years as pastor of 
Raleigh Edenton street Methodist church last Sunday. His 
congregation presented him with a fine gold watch and his wife with a 
silver pitcher." One of his notable accomplishments was the conversion 
of Aunt Abby House, which had preceded his tenure at Louisburg. 

In 1893 the Times still followed the career of the well-loved Mr. 
Norman. On 15 December it reprinted from the Wilmington Star the 
following notice: "Rev. W C. Norman is the preacher that every 
presiding elder wants when he has his most important station to fill; 
and the preacher the people want, too. His continuous and 
uninterrupted success as a pastor and organizer is seldom if ever 
equalled. His labors are blessed with conversions wherever he goes, and 
increased spirituality is indicated by clean financial reports. How these 
Wilmington people do love him." 

In December 1887 the Times noted that the Reverend Alpheus 
McCullen had been returned to the Louisburg station. "It was the 
earnest wish of his entire congregation that he be returned. He will 
occupy his pulpit next Sunday week." Again, the following year, the 
Times reported that "Rev. A. McCullen, the faithful and popular pastor 
of the Methodist church here, left last Monday evening for Conference, 
which is in session at Newberne this week. A large number of his 
congregation would be delighted to have him returned to this place 
another year." 

It was not to be, and the Times on 14 December is warm in its 
farewell. "This most excellent gentleman and minister, who has been 
pastor of the Methodist church in Louisburg for the past three years, 
preached his last sermon here on Sunday last to a large congregation. 
At the conclusion of his sermon, which was a most excellent one, he, in 
a very feeling and touching manner, referred to the many kindnesses 
shown him and his excellent wife during their stay in Louisburg and 
said that he would never forget Louisburg and its people. He has 
certainly been faithful to his post, and carries with him to his new field 
of labor, the love and esteem, of not only his flock, but of the 


community generally. He left for Reidsville on yesterday, and his wife 
and child will follow in a few days. We congratulate the people of 
Reidsville in securing such an excellent gendeman to preach for them." 

Mr. McCullen was followed by the Rev. J. B. Hurley, who "arrived 
on Friday last and preached his first sermons last Sunday to large 
congregations. Those who heard him were very favorably impressed, 
and all agree that the community is to be congratulated upon the fact 
that Conference sent such an excellent preacher and gendeman to take 
charge of this station" (Times, 4 Jan. 1889). In February Mr. Hurley 
was in the news for a different reason: "Rev. J. B. Hurley, the excellent 
and already popular pastor of the Methodist church, left here Monday 
'a single man 5 but he is expected to arrive this (Thursday) evening c in 
double harness' as "his marriage to Miss Lena Leonard, of Lexington, 
N.C., was appointed for the 13th inst." {Times 15 Feb. 1889). A month 
later he was being regaled: J. B. Hurley thanks his congregation and 
"other kind friends" for an "elegant writing desk recently presented" to 
him. He also thanks L. P. Hicks and W H. and E. W Furgurson for a 
nickle-plated students lamp" (Times, 15 March 1889). On 14 March 
1890 the Times reported that "Such sermons as the one preached by 
Rev. J. B Hurley, on Sunday night last, are calculated to do much good. 
His subject was 'Economy.'" 

The Rev. George F. Smith was minister from 1895-1899 and again 
from 1918-1922. The Times reported on 1 May 1896 that his recent 
meeting at the Methodist church resulted in thirty conversions and 
nineteen new members. On 18 December 1896 the Times reported 
that he had been reappointed. "It gives us pleasure to state that the 
Methodist Conference which met last week in Kinston, has seen fit to 
return Rev. G. F. Smith to Louisburg. He is a good and consecrated 
man of God, and is greatly beloved by our people." 

Smith was significant not only for his performance as a minister but 
also for his activity and influence in College affairs. Mary Davis Allen 
credited him with persuading Washington Duke to keep the College 
open in 1896 under the management of her father and herself (Willard, 
Echoes, p. 101). The spring after the death of Matthew S. Davis in 
1906, Smith was a member of a board of directors formed to ensure the 
continued operation of the College and to choose a new president 
(Willard, Echoes, p. 114). The committee chose Mary Davis Allen. 

The Times reports on 2 June 1899 that Smith had "arranged to 
erect a new and larger church at Piney Grove, about three miles from 
town." In April 1899 he was host to Dr. R. H. Whi taker, minister 
associated chiefly with Wake County and a friend of Aunt Abby in her 
last days; his memoirs helped to perpetuate her memory. In September 
1899 Mr. Smith assisted Dr. Whitaker in a revival at Shiloh church. 


R. H. Whitaker enjoyed repeating the following joke: "Captain [W 
H.] Pleasants is my authority for the following joke on Rev. G. F. 
Smith. While Brother Smith was preaching in Greenville, he missed a 
gentleman one Sunday, from his congregation. He met him the next 
day, and in answer to the question: 'Where were you yesterday?' the 
gentleman remarked, 'I went to the Presbyterian church, and, strange 
to say, I forgot to throw out my quid of tocacco before going in.'" How 
had he managed? He had swallowed his quid. Asked if it hadn't made 
him sick, he answered, "Sick indeed. ... A man who has heard you 
preach for three years without being made sick, can't be made sick by 
one chew of tobacco" (p. 289). Whitaker proceeds to tell a similar joke 
on his own preaching. 

Elizabeth Allen (b. 1901) in 1997 remembered Mr. Smith from his 
1918-1922 term in Louisburg as impressive not only as a minister but 
also for his stature: he had, she said, a large bay window. 

The Times printed an appreciation of the Reverend J. A. 
Cunninggim, who served the Louisburg Methodist Church from 1866 
till 1870, on the occasion of his death in 1899. Under the heading 
"Uncle Jesse Dead," the paper reprinted from the Raleigh Post a story 
describing Cunninggim as one of the oldest members of the North 
Carolina Conference of the Church. He had recentiy served as 
presiding elder of the Raleigh District for four years; then, serving the 
Durham District in the same role, he requested superannuation 
because of illness and died a few weeks later, 6 January, at his home in 
Greensboro. He was "a mighty man among North Carolina 
Methodists"; "a more lovable character or a minister better beloved has 
rarely, if ever, lived to bless his fellowmen." 

The Church and the War 

Lacking information about the war from official records, it is 
fortunate that some personal writings of members of the congregation 
have been preserved. Anticipations of the war were strong in 
Louisburg. Again, Pauline Hill (Mrs. John) Brooks's writings are 
informative. She kept a journal during the 1860s, excerpts from which 
were published in the College magazine of the Neithean and Sea Gift 
Literary Societies, The Collegian, in July 1903. On 24 February 1861 
she wrote that "Pa [D. S. Hill] came home from Raleigh the other day, 
and seems to think there will certainly be a war. Ever since John 
Brown's raid there seems to be such a feeling in the South that we are 
not being treated right" (p. 59). But school is going well; "We have a 
full school." The "big girls, as well as the younger ones," all play jump 
rope outdoors during recess, and sometimes they are joined at jump 


rope by "Mr. Louis Andrews and Mr. Copeland, our painting teacher." 
Louis Andrews was probably a relative of the president. On 20 April 
1861, she writes that Fort Sumter has fallen, and "all over the South 
and in our State they are forming companies." Throughout winter 
term, "we have heard nothing talked about but war." Columbus C. 
Andrews, president in 1860-1861, whose lectures on rhetoric she likes, 
"gave us for a debate the question, c Has the South the right to secede?' I 
am on the negative side," she does not indicate whether by choice or by 
assignment, "and Pa gave me for a quotation, Tt is better to bear the ills 
we have than to fly to others we know not of."' 

The College May Day celebration was called off because the men 
were preparing to go to war, and on 15 June, the Franklin Rifles left for 
the war. On 20 August 1861 came news of Manassas. She records 
victories and defeats, worries about the soldiers in the winter weather, 
enjoys the company of "refugees from Norfolk and New Bern," two of 
whom are living with her family Willie Closs was killed, then Dudley 
Tuns tall and Tommie Davis. "So many of our dear boys are killed and 
wounded" (p. 64). She is wearing a homespun dress, and the women 
are cutting up linen sheets to make underclothes. Anxiety ran high. 

As for the state of the local economy during these years, a 
manuscript note on the back of the Fall Report on the Franklin Male 
Academy (M. S. Davis, principal), tells the story (Russell, p. 50): "4th 
year of Lincoln's War — tuition $30 and $50 per session. During this 
year I paid $100 per bushel for corn, $40 for a pair of cotton cards, $75 
for 3 lbs. of indifferent sole leathers, $8 for one ball of shoe threads, 
$80 for 8 yrds of calico, $50 for a bunch of cotton yarn. The truth, the 
whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God. — M. S. Davis" 
(Louisburg College Collection in the Duke University Special 
Collections Library). 

Methodist Conference met in Mocksville on 7 December 1864, 
and Pauline Hill hoped that Mr. Guthrie would be returned to them. 
He was not. "Rev. R. S. Moran is our pastor now," while "Sherman is 
marching on to Savannah, Ga." On 18 April 1865, "Dr. Moran 
preached such a good sermon on 'The Lord God is a Sun and Shield, 
and no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprighdy' 
We could hear horses galloping by all the time we were at church, and 
we would crane our necks round to see if it was the Yankees coming" 
(p. 67). 

She wrote on 13 March 1865, "The Yankees are in Kinston." On 4 
Mayl865, they were on the front porch. "All of us girls were locked in a 
room upstairs for safety Pa met them on the porch and tried to treat 
them as a gentleman should those who come to his house. We have two 
regiments of cavalry in our town now, and we have a guard in our 
grove" (p. 69). 


Quarterly Conference Minutes for 3 July 1865 make reference to 
the troops in answer to the question "What has been done for the 
instruction of children?" "The S. School has been reorganized, but 
owing to the presence of a Regiment of Federal troops quartered in the 
town the school has not prospered." N. F. Reid was presiding elder, R. 
S. Moran the preacher in charge, and those present were Jones Fuller, 
M. S. Davis, Thomas K. Thomas, W H. Pleasants, and Daniel S. Hill. 
Minutes for 4 September 1865, in answer to the same question, state 
that "There is one S. School in operation, but it has suffered from the 
interruption of the Military, from which it has not recovered." Then on 
1 November 1865: "One S. School not in a flourishing condition." 3 
February 1866: "The S. School has not yet been opened for this year." 
9 April 1866: "The P.C. reports 1 S School & 30 pupils." On the other 
hand, T M. Jones, president of the College, was elected to the board, 
and the College must have been doing well. These are the only official 
references in the Minutes of the Quarterly Conferences to the 
occupation by Federal troops. 

As to the date of the departure of Federal troops, the diary of Annie 
Thomas Fuller supplies information. Annie Fuller was the daughter of 
Anne Long (Mrs. Jordan) Thomas and the granddaughter of Sarah 
Richmond Long Shine. Her husband, Jones Fuller, was a local 
merchant and a perpetual presence among the Methodist stewards. On 
29 April 1865, "A squad of Yankee cavalry entered town and stopped in 
front of our house. They came to tell of the approach of the Army, a 
large portion of which will pass through here Monday and Tuesday." 
Monday, 1 May, "The town is full of Yankee soldiers, riding and 
walking up and down every street, and coming into our yards and 
kitchens." Cavalry entered the town about ten in the morning, and 
came all day in very orderly fashion. "Their tents are pitched in the 
College and Male Academy groves," where a band is playing national 
airs. U.S. flags are unfurled, and Generals O. O. Howard and Logan 
have their headquarters in the two groves. (The academy and the 
College were closed, and later M. S. Davis would report that, walking 
through the Federal encampment to the academy building holding the 
hand of his five-year-old son Edward Hill Davis, he found the building 
so loaded with grain that the floor had collapsed in one corner.) 
Lincoln, Pauline Brooks had noted on 21 April 1865, had been 
assassinated "by one of our soldiers. . . . Poor fellow, what a sad mistake 
he made in that mad act!" (p. 69). 

Brooks on 24 April: "Andrew Johnson (who, Pa says, was born in 
Raleigh, a poor boy), is now President" (p. 68). At church, on May 7, 
Annie Fuller wrote, "Today, for the first time, prayer was offered up, in 
the Sanctuary, for the President of the United States. A great many 
Yankee Soldiers were present." 


Excerpts from Brooks's diary do not include a report for 18 July, a 
Sunday on which Fuller wrote: "Went to church today but must 
confess Mr. Moran's sermon did not impress and edify me as they have 
previously done. The fault may be in me, but for several weeks past, he 
has seemed changed. He has had difficulties with several persons, some 
of them members of his flock, all growing out of our National and 
political situation. He is so very distant and cold to us, I know not why, 
for I am not aware of having done or said anything to offend him." Mr. 
Moran was replaced at the end of the year by the Rev Jesse 

On Friday 7 July "the Yankees" moved their camp about 
three-fourths of a mile outside town, much to Fuller's relief; the camp 
on Main Street, "the principal promenade for the ladies," was "a 
disgusting, revolting sight" and "the odor arising from it . . . 
loathsome." She wrote on 28 July, "They left yesterday morning, I 
hope for good." But the future is dark; there is no money and little 
hope of improvement. 

Whereas Brooks describes the emotional scenes of the departures of 
old family servants ("We all have a crying time together. The husbands 
of many of them have settled on small pieces of land, and of course they 
have to go with them" [p. 69]), Fuller's theme for the future will be the 
impossibility of getting good servants and how much she has to pay 
them. On 23 November 1865, "I do feel for my dear husband, he is so 
harassed, and thinks his way is almost completely blocked up. I try to 
comfort him," she wrote, by telling him they were no worse off than 
many, but he would not be comforted. On the other hand, a month 
after the departure of the Federal troops, Jones Fuller had resumed his 
trips to New York to stock his store, trips he had not made since the war 
began. He came back to Louisburg on 4 September 1865 with 
presents — dresses, shoes, stockings, gloves, handkerchives, hats, a wrap 
for his wife, etc. 

On 29 October Annie Fuller attended quarterly meeting at Trinity 
Church and "heard a very good sermon from Mr. F. Reid on the 
Resurrection, and partook of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, I 
trust to my edification, though I feel I am an unprofitable servant, 
falling far short. . . ." On 24 December "Our new pastor, Mr. 
Cunninggim, took supper and spent the night with us. He is very quiet 
in his manner. I trust we shall like him, and he us. . . ." On 6 January 
1866 Mr. Cunninggim preached a "good practical sermon." On 8 April 
she attended quarterly meeting, hearing the Rev. Mr. Hudson, instead 
of "our Presiding Elder, Mr. Reid, he having gone to General 

Then there was the anniversary meeting of the Bible Society on 29 
April; a Presbyterian minister preached. "Collection was taken," a fact 


which plunges her into a lament that she had nothing to give. "Ah me! 
How I felt the change in my circumstances." Previously she had had 
plenty to give, and she trusts that she gave it freely. Yet she continues to 
hire servants, and on 5 May Mr. Fuller says he should sell out and go to 
a place where "business is more active." A telling incident occurred on 
May 5. Her carriage was borrowed by a "bridal pair" to transport them 
to the depot. It was returned spattered with mud. This is distressing 
because her carriage is a "handsome and costly" one, and the servant 
responsible for its care "knows little about washing and cleansing it." 
She had to "see to it" herself. The times were hard indeed. 

The Fullers were attentive to church affairs throughout. On 2 
September 1863 there was a revival at the Methodist church. "Tonight 
our dear little Annie is at the altar, as a penitent," although she can have 
"nothing to sorrow for, except the natural depravity of the heart," so 
"pure and good" a child is she. (Annie Fuller became the wife of Dr. 
James Ellis Malone.) Some days later she "attached herself to the 
Church. . . .Both of our precious ones are now Christ's Lambs." On 
Christmas Day 1864 she heard a sermon by Mr. Guthrie, who had 
called earlier in December to see her son Edwin, Louisburg's poet and 
novelist to be, who was home from Chapel Hill. When Mr. Moran 
arrived to be their pastor on 31 December, he stayed with the Fullers, 
and she had pious wishes and expectations regarding him. On 26 
February 1865 Mr. Moran preached a "charming sermon" on the text 
"He that will live godly, must suffer persecution." It made her resolve 
"by the grace of God" to be a better Christian. Moran is, she feels, 
"unexceptionable as a Pastor" and as a "Christian gentleman." She 
responded similarly to other sermons until that fateful one on 18 June 
when Mr. Moran ran afoul of the '"National and political situation." 

Annie Fuller further reported, on 6 July 1867, "A day of Fasting 
and Prayer throughout the Southern Methodist Church appointed by 
the late Convention of Bishops." She went to church, but, because of 
lack of food, was too sleepy to benefit. In November 1867, "for several 
days last week we had Rev. Mr. Wood, Missionary to China, with us, a 
very agreeable Christian Gentleman. He preached for us on the 
Sabbath, and delivered two lectures on the Manners and Customs of 
the Chinese." And on 20 March 1868 she entertained in her home "a 
large company of ladies and gentlemen assembled ... for the purpose 
of making arrangements for an 'Entertainment 5 for the benefit of the 

Annie Fuller's diary begins at the deathbed of her mother, Anne 
Long Thomas. It closes with the scene at the deathbed of her husband 
Jones Fuller. Thus the diary is informative not only concerning the 
Church and the Civil War but also for characterizations of two 


significant Church members, Jones Fuller and their son, Edwin Wylie 
Fuller, as well as of the writer herself. 

The official records reveal that through the war years the stewards 
met regularly, faithfully answered the customary questions, and wrote 
minutes of their quarterly conferences. They assessed the members and 
reported payments. On 4 November 1862 they reported one sabbath 
school, one superintendent, six teachers, 40 scholars, 150 books in the 
library. "We have been holding monthly meetings for the children 
which have been conducted in a catechetical manner and we hope have 
been spiritually profitable. Signed, M. C. Thomas, EC." Mr. Guthrie 
arrived in 1863 and found the Sunday school suspended for the winter. 
The circuit parsonage was sold to the highest bidder for $1225. The 
minister was asked to preach on missions. The Sunday school resumed 
in May 1863 but labored under the difficulties of want of teachers, 
"especially male teachers," and of books. Five people had joined the 
church by July. By 21 September 1863, twenty-six persons had been 
received on trial since last quarter. The trustees bought the Patterson lot 
adjoining the church for a parsonage. J. B. Littlejohn's place on the 
board of trustees was declared vacant and J. Thomas was elected to 
replace him. (Col. Litdejohn became General Litdejohn of the Army of 
the Confederacy.) By 8 February 1864 Jones Fuller had resigned as 
superintendent of the Sunday school and had been replaced by James S. 
French. But Jones Fuller was elected district Sunday-school 
superintendent on 22 November 1864. Mr. Moran came at the end of 
1864. As noted, the presence of Federal troops was reported in July and 
September 1865. On 1 November 1865 a committee was appointed to 
report on the condition of church property. Mr. Cunninggim arrived at 
the beginning of 1866, and Jones Fuller resigned as a steward. 

Certainly the minutes reveal that Church business proceeded 
during the war, in spite of the fact that the stress level among 
communicants must have been high because of the absence of family 
members, casualties in the army, economic deprivation, and the 
anticipation of calamity. 

The Church and the Academies and the College 

Many of the officials of the Louisburg Methodist Church served as 
founders, board members, and officials of the academies and the 
College from the original chartering of Franklin Male Academy in 
1787. Examples are John King, and later his descendants, and various 
members of the Hill family. In the 1850s Daniel Shine Hill served as 
corresponding secretary in the search for a president for Louisburg 
Female College. 


When Pauline Brooks placed M. S. Davis and Asher Ray in 
proximity in the congregation in her recollections written in 1899, the 
exaggeration was slight; she might more realistically have included 
Turner Myrick Jones, who had been headmaster of the male academy in 
the early 1850s and was president of the College from 1866 to 1868. In 
1857 the female academy became a college, and in two instances, the 
ministers of the church served as presidents of the College during their 
terms as minister. 

The movement to establish a Louisburg Female College resulted in 
legislative authorization in January 1855. The "female seminary" was 
prospering, and the old academy building was to be moved aside and a 
new structure built in its place (Willard, Echoes, p. 43). Correspondence 
regarding the hiring of a president for the new institution seems to have 
been in the hands of Daniel Shine Hill, listed by Willard as secretary of 
the board of trustees. Presumably Asher and Jane Ray would continue 
in charge of the female academy, as M. S. Davis was hired as headmaster 
of the male academy and began work in January 1856. In fact, Asher 
Ray died early in 1856, his wife Jane in 1857. After that, the president 
of Louisburg Female College was also in charge of the lower female 

Louisburg Female College opened in 1857 in a new brick building 
and continued under a succession of presidents. Of these, Turner 
Myrick Jones had greatest impact, perhaps, on the Louisburg 
Methodist Church. Jones was a native of Franklin County and a 
member of a notable family. It was his brother Jordan F Jones who 
developed at Laurel the industrial complex of mills and gins of which 

-f ft m Hf C z ;- 

I m ■ ■ 

1! !H "I 


* X *~7&S^j.& 

''Louisburg College Main Building as pictured in the earliest known drawing (1861); the 

building was constructed for Louisburg Female College which opened in 1857." From The 

United Methodist Mission in Higher Education: Retrospect and Prospects. Louisburg NC: 

Louisburg College, 1989. 


only Laurel Mill has survived. Turner Myrick Jones was headmaster of 
Franklin Academy from about 1850 until 1853 (Davis, p. 135) and 
was one of the teachers of M. S. Davis. Jones had headed other 
academies in the area before he came to Franklin Academy, and he left 
Louisburg in 1853 to teach at Greensboro College, of which he 
became president in about 1855. Greensboro College burned in 1863, 
and T. M. Jones became president of Louisburg in 1866. In his letter to 
"Major D. S. Hill" dated Sept. 11, 1865, he was confident that he 
could make of Louisburg a college that would afford all the advantages 
of Greensboro and be a great blessing to the community. But he had his 
demands. Land for a garden, brick for new chimneys, lumber, 
furniture, a good piano, repairs to the "house" — when he had 
information on these and other matters, he would be able to plan his 
future "movements." (This letter is in my possession among papers of 

T M. Jones moved to Louisburg as president of the College and 
became quite active in the Louisburg Methodist church. He was 
elected to the Board of Stewards on 3 February 1866, and on 1 
October 1866 he became District Steward. He was referred to always 
as "Rev T M. Jones, L.D." It is not recorded at which meeting of the 
board in 1866 he was granted the balcony previously reserved for black 
people for the use of his students. So high were hopes of his success at 
moving Greensboro Female College to Louisburg, as E. H. Davis put it 
(p. 292), that he surely could not be denied. 

A member of Jones's faculty reported on Methodism in Louisburg 
in a letter home written during his term. "So many of the young men of 
Louisburg are members of the church; which is rather uncommon in 
most places. There is a small Episcopal Church in this place to which I 
go occasionally. The Methodist denomination predominates here. 
There are so many school girls, that they almost entirely occupy the 
galleries at the Methodist Church on Sunday" (Willard, Echoes, p. 60). 
Garland Jones, she continued, eighteen-year-old son of the president, 
seemed to have a hard time avoiding the many "girls": because of them 
he never came to prayers and always ate at a second table. Garland 
Jones's evasive tactics proved inadequate. A few years later he married 
D. S. Hill's daughter Florence, a student at the College at the time. 
Florence Jones's great niece, Elizabeth Allen, aged 96 in 1997, 
remembers him as, in her teen years, an especially interesting and 
engaging great uncle. 

Anticlimactically, at the Quarterly Conference meeting for 1 
November 1869, "Bro. C. H. Thomas was elected district steward for 
next year. Edwin Fuller was elected steward [replacing] Rev. T M. 
Jones, who has removed from the station" (Quarterly Conference 
Records). Willard suggests that his departure may have been prompted 


by his ill health (p. 68), to which the faculty member quoted earlier had 
referred. Nevertheless, Jones headed two other small colleges in the 
years before he returned to the rebuilt Greensboro as president in 
1873. He died in 1890. 

Ministers of the church must have served as contacts concerning 
positions at the College, as did D. S. Hill. In January 1869 the 
Reverend T. Page Ricaud, Pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
South in Louisburg, received a letter from one P F. De St. Clair, who 
wrote from Long Creek, NC (presumably), applying for a job at the 
College (Hill/Davis Collection). In fact, in the days of checkered 
leadership and operation of Louisburg College until the mid- 1890s, 
two of the ministers of the Louisburg Methodist Church served as 
president while they were preachers in charge of the Louisburg station 
(Willard, "Evolution," p. 21). These were Frank Lewis Reid, minister 
from 1874 to 1878, president 1876-1878, and J. A. Green, minister 
1893-1895, president 1894-1896. 

Quarterly Conference Records for the years 1857-1872 yield litde 
evidence of participation of College staff members in the activities of 
the Church, apart from President Jones. There is one notable 
exception: W E Alderman, A. M., Professor of Mathematics and 
Ancient Languages, was a member of the Board of Stewards beginning 
with Jones's presidency; he continued as secretary through 1869. ( A 
list of College presidents included in the Louisburg Female College 
publication The Collegian for 1904 lists Alderman as the president 
following T M. Jones; as it was published in M. S. Davis's presidency, it 
is probable Davis prepared it, but it does not concur in this respect with 
the list Willard includes, p. 181). Also, the Franklin Times for 29 
November 1880 reported that Professor W C. Doub, with Col. W F. 
Green, would be a delegate from the district to the Methodist 
conference to meet at Winston on 1 December 1880. Doub was 
president of Louisburg Female College from 1878 till 1881. At the 
Raleigh District Conference in the summer of 1880, Doub delivered an 
address on education that was highly praised in the Christian Advocate 
(Willard, Echoes, p. 79). Activity in the church of many faculty and 
students doubtless simply went unreported in the Quarterly 
Conference records. 

By 15 June 1888 the Times was reporting that attendance was "not 
what it ought to have been" in the preceding year at the male academy 
and the "schools at the College," despite the fact that Prof. H. W Rice 
of the academy and Misses Harris and Weddell of the school were fine 
scholars and excellent teachers. In the fall Miss Kate Hunt took over the 
school at the College; Dr. J. E. Malone was a contact person (Times, 31 
August 1888). 


Quarterly Conference records for 22 April 1889 report that "The 
Louisburg Female College has been leased by S. D. Bagley for five 
years and the facilities for Education are good." Bagley's lease on the 
College property was welcomed by the town, the church, and the 
Times. Previously, following a period in which the building became a 
"boarding and day school for young ladies and girls," the property was 
put up for auction; it was bought by Charles M. Cooke of Louisburg 
for $1,650 (Willard, Echoes, pp. 82-85). Both "Prof. S. D. Bagly" and 
Mrs. S. D. Bagley were listed as accessions to the Church membership 
list on 9 September 1889. On 19 May 1890 delegates to the Sunday 
School District Conference were elected: George S. Baker, S. D. 
Bagley, Miss Alma Huff, and Miss Lucy Perry. Bagley was also elected a 
delegate to the district conference to meet the fourth Sunday in July 
1890, with E N. Egerton, G. S. Baker, and J. J. Barrow In March 1891 
as well he was elected to represent the church at the same two 
conferences. Remaining records do not list him as a steward or a trustee 
of the church. He fulfilled the terms of his lease by remaining at 
Louisburg Female College through 1894. 

Early in Bagley's term, the College was bought by Washington 
Duke for $5,450 (Willard, Echoes, p. 92). Upon Bagley^s departure, the 
College property was purchased by a stock company with a contract to 
buy the property from Washington Duke for six thousand dollars over a 
period of several years. The composition of the stock company 
permitted the Times to state that the College was now "owned by the 
Methodists of Louisburg and Franklin county" (27 July 1894) and 
would be made a denominational college under the control of the 
North Carolina Conference" (25 May 1894). The new president was 
the Reverend J. A. Green, pastor of the Louisburg Methodist Church 
from 1893 to 1895, president of Louisburg Female College 

There was some overlap between church and college staff during 
this administration. Mrs. Green was the "Matron and lady manager"; 
the daughter of William E Alderman, professor of mathmatics and 
ancient languages under T M. Jones and a steward of the Church, was a 
teacher; and Mary M. Davis, daughter of M. S. Davis of the Church 
board and until 1880 headmaster of the male academy, had taught at 
the College since 1889 (Willard, Echoes pp. 97-98). She had earlier 
taught at Areola Academy in Warren County, where she had taken 
charge of the education of a number of young Davis cousins and their 
neighbors; and the Times had reported on 31 August 1888 that "Miss 
Mary Davis left this week to fill her place as teacher in Litdeton Female 
College. She was accompanied by Misses Mattie Wilder and Minnie 
Seymour, who go as pupils in said college." 


In 1896, the stock company (the Louisburg Female College 
Corporation) being unable to keep up its payments to Washington 
Duke, Duke bought the property back at public auction. Willard 
writes, "According to Mary Davis, Duke was ready to close the college, 
but he was persuaded by the Reverend G. E Smith, pastor of the 
Church from 1895 till 1899, to keep it open under her management" 
(p. 101). The Franklin Times gave this report on commencement at 
Louisburg Female College on 5 June 1896: T. W Bickett delivered the 
"literary address," and the Reverend G. F. Smith and Washington Duke 
sat on the platform, with R. P. Troy (unidentified). "At the close of the 
exercises it was announced that the fall session would open on the first 
Wednesday in September, under the management of Miss Mary Davis. 
She is one of the best and most efficient teachers in the State, and 
possesses those qualities which make her fully capable to manage the 
Institution. She will have a corps of competent and efficient teachers." 
When the opening of the College was advertised in the Times that 
September, the staff listed were "M. S. Davis, A.M., President" and 
"Miss Mary Davis, Lady Principal." Family tradition has it that Mary 
Davis persuaded her father to end his fifteen years of farming on the 
Egerton Place and at Green Hill and become president of Louisburg 
College with herself as "Lady Principal." Her college education had 
ended with Louisburg Female College. 

There now began a period of great closeness of Church and 
College. Matthew S. Davis had consistendy held offices in the Church 
for the twenty-four years when he was principal of the male academy. 
Although between 1880 and 1890 he probably attended services at 
Prospect, which later became Hill-King Memorial, not far from the 
Egerton Place, he had held significant offices in Louisburg between 
1880 and 1896: he became treasurer of the town in 1888 and served as 
president of the Farmers' Alliance, a populist organization opposing 
the tobacco trust (influential at the time under the Duke family!). 
According to the Times, he was also superintendent of public 
instruction. He was clearly identified with the town and the church at 
the time he became president of Louisburg College. In connection with 
a College announcement for the fall opening of 1897, the editor of the 
Times on 2 July 1897 commented that "With such an experienced, 
cultured, and high-toned Christian gendeman as Mr. M. S. Davis for its 
President, assisted by his most excellent and highly educated daughter, 
Miss Mary, and a well-selected corps of competent teachers, how could 
anything but a Providential hindrance prevent the institution from 
being a success as far as its management is concerned." 

Although, in all likelihood, students, teachers, and staff had filled 
positions in the Church for decades, at the turn of the century there is 
abundant evidence in the Franklin Times. For example, on 28 January 


1903, according to a report on the Methodist Sunday school under 
"Personals," "Sunday school officers and teachers met to elect officers 
and teachers for the year." M. S. Davis taught the Bible class, Mary 
Davis (now Mrs. Ivey) Allen class #2, Miss Mabel Davis class #4, etc. 
The organist was Maude Holmes, a College student, daughter of 
trustee Rev. K. D. Holmes. 

When the Raleigh District Conference met in Franklinton in July 
1887, Louisburg College was not represented. "Trinity College, 
Henderson Female College, Greensboro Female College, Littleton 
Female College all had representatives and the interest of each urged 
before the conference" (Franklin Times, 29 July 1887). In sharp 
contrast, the conference of the Raleigh District, meeting in Louisburg 
on Thursday 13 July 1899, drew attention to the signal relationship 
between the church and Louisburg College. As reported in the Times \ 
the opening sermon was preached on Wednesday evening, 12 July, by 
the Rev. M. H. Tuttle of Oxford. Business sessions were held in the 
College chapel on Thursday. There was preaching in the church every 
day at 1 1 a.m. and at 8 p.m., and area citizens were invited. In charge of 
housing arrangements were M. S. Davis, G. S. Baker, and W H. 
Furgurson. Among the many delegates were Josephus Daniels, editor 
of the Raleigh News and Observer; the Rev. R. H. Whitaker (author of 
the volume of reminiscenses of the area which included an account of 
Aunt Abby House); William Capers Norman, formerly Louisburg's 
pastor, now a presiding elder, the converter of Aunt Abby; the Rev. T 
N. Ivey, who in 1903 gave the "literary address" at the College 
commencement and who later published an account of Green Hill that 
was for decades the most comprehensive; Kenneth D. Holmes, a 
trustee of the College in the presidency of M. S. Davis, who became a 
preacher under the influence of "Uncle Jesse" Cunninggim, offered the 
prayer at the commencement of 1903, and served at churches in 
Sanford, Kittrell, Wilmington, Rockingham, and others (his children, 
grandchildren, and great-grandchildren attended Louisburg College); 
Louisburg merchants David and Frank McKinne, L. P. Hicks, W N. 
Fuller, and R. Z. Egerton; and George S. Baker, superintendent of the 
Sunday school and representative of an insurance company. 

In his third report on the conference, on 21 July, the Times editor 
wrote that the president of the College had addressed the conference, 
"setting forth the claims of the College in the church. He stated that 
every room in the College last session was occupied, but Mr. 
[Washington] Duke had ordered an addition which would be 
completed by the last of the session and then he could accommodate all 
who wanted to come. The plans of the addition were shown to the 


Josephus Daniels, however, gave serious attention to a different 
aspect of the conference in the News and Observer for 15 July 1899, and 
the Times reprinted the article on the first page on July 28 under the 
EDUCATION OF THEIR CHILDREN?/ If so, Why is it? Is it not 
Because they Feel That it is Out of Their Grasp? — New Life in 
Louisburg Female College." 

Daniels began the article by quoting one of the ministerial 
delegates to the conference. "Many of our people on my circuit are 
indifferent to the education of their children." Daniels then reports that 
these words read by a preacher from his written report to the 
conference "made a deep impression on me, and I hoped one of the 
older preachers would challenge the conclusion." But it appeared that 
no one recognized the gravity of the "indictment against [the] 
congregations." "When people became 'indifferent to their children,'" 
Daniels continued, "they have reached a point where, in this hour of 
the world's progress, they may be said to be unnatural parents." If it 
had been "in order," Daniels would have suggested "a general 
discussion of the proposition." 

"The remark of the preacher did not pass unnoticed, however," 
Daniels continued. "When Mr. Matthew S. Davis, president of 
Louisburg Female College, came to address the conference he used the 
words [concerning indifference to education] as a text for an admirable 
address. . . . He began by admitting that as he had traveled through the 
country he had found what seemed to be a spirit of indifference upon 
the part of some parents about sending their children to college, but 
when he had probed deeper he found that it was a feeling of 
hopelessness rather than indifference. Most of the people thought to be 
indifferent had found that after the year's expenses were paid, they had 
very little money left, not enough to pay the usual expenses, and they 
felt that college education was so far beyond their ability that they were 
forced to ... . put [it] out of all their calculations for their children." 

"Dr. Davis then went on to say that the problem presented was how 
to bring the college education in the reach of these people, and 
encourage them to make sacrifice to educate their children. He told 
how it has been the aim and ambition of Louisburg Female College, in 
the sphere of its influence, to remove the seeming indifference by 
making the expense so low that it would be brought within the reach of 
many parents whose hopelessness heretofore has made them seem 

Still quoting Davis, Daniels cited Washington Duke, owner of the 
College property, as having enabled the management to reduce 
expenses by granting rent-free use of the property. Board and tuition 
for a nine-month session at Louisburg Female College was only 


$122.25. Daniels praised the faculty and the "lady principal, Miss Mary 
M. Davis," who has "no superior in North Carolina." "Mr. Davis is 
himself a graduate of the University, a gendeman of scholarship and 
abundant common sense . . . and under his care and direction this 
famous old college — the home of culture for more than an hundred 
years — has come again to be the favorite seat of learning for the young 
women in the fertile Tar river section of North Carolina." 

For some years, Daniels wrote, the college had "lost its hold" and 
the "future seemed gloomy." Now, however, "Mr. Duke has generously 
placed the property in the hands of Mr. Davis and his daughters 
without charge for rent, taxes, or insurance so that it may bring the 
advantage of education in the reach of many young women." He wrote 
"by way of parenthesis" that he rejoiced at Duke's "princely liberality to 
the cause of education." Denied advantages in his youth, Duke wished 
to use his great wealth to offer advantages to the young people of the 
state. "In this day when the average millionaire spends his money in 
horse-racing, fine yachts and trips to the resorts of the old world, it is 
refreshing to see a man rich as Mr. Duke 'investing his money in 
immortal mind 5 rather than in the follies and pleasures of life. His gifts 
will last long after he has been called to the other world and will bless 
unborn children. I am as much opposed to the cigarette trust as any 
living man, and if I had the power I would destroy it before to-morrow 
morning's breakfast, but I do not believe in making the gifts Mr. Duke 
makes the occasion for impugning his motives. I rather am glad that he 
uses his money to provide better educational facilities, and I wish that 
every trust magnate in the country would do likewise." Duke was 
putting higher education "in the reach of the people struggling in the 
evil conditions produced in part by the low price of tobacco, pressed 
down and down by the Cigarette Trust." 

The progress of the town of Louisburg in the preceding five years 
impressed Josephus Daniels; the many brick business structures 
downtown, the five large tobacco warehouses, and the bustle of 
business were recent. "A man who has been away from Louisburg five 
years would recognize nothing about the town but the river, the court 
house, some of the old homes situated in the shade of venerable oaks, 
and the people. There is little change in the folks. They husde more. ..." 
Daniels's visit revealed to him- that there was new life not only in the 
college but also in the town, and a function of the similarly thriving 
Methodist church put it all on display. 

The Rev. G. F. Smith of the Louisburg Methodist Church had 
already reflected such a view of town, College, and Church in the 
minutes of the Quarterly Conference meeting of 23 October 1897. In 
his special report on education he wrote, "Louisburg Female College 
has an enrollment [that is] the largest for several years. Under the 


present administration the school has been eminently satisfactory to 
the community. About forty of the students are boarders. . . ." 

Revivals and Conferences 

Revivals were popular during the nineteenth century, as is apparent 
in the Massenburg and Fuller diaries. To attend a revival, or a quarterly 
conference, Louisburg Methodists traveled to surrounding churches in 
the county. Annie Fuller's youngest child became one of "Christ's 
Lambs" at a revival in September 1863. She reports another revival on 
20 May 1866. "A gracious revival of religion is in progress in the 
Methodist church. Quite a large number have professed Conversion, 
some of the most wicked men in our Community, and heads of 
families. Professing Christians have been strengthened, and renewed 
their Covenants, with God, to be more faithful. The Church had 
languished very much." 

Well-known preachers were often brought in for revivals, and the 
meetings often went on for a week. On 10 June 1887 the Franklin 
Times reported that the revival then being held at the Methodist church 
was "increasing in interest. . . . Dr. Rosser is a faithful and powerful 
preacher, and is doing a good work here. Large crowds attend nighdy." 
And on 26 August, "Rev. A. McCullen is assisting Rev. J. J. Renn in a 
series of meetings at Franklinton this week." 

G. F. Smith on 26 February 1898 reported in the Quarterly 
Conference records, following a list of ten persons received by 
certificate of membership and by baptism, "We had a protracted 
meeting in January resulting in about twelve conversions. Rev N. M. 
Watson was with us a few days." 

Not all revivals were successful, however. The Franklin Times 
reported on 6 October 1899 that the Rev G. F Smith had begun a 
series of revival services in the Courthouse, the church being in process 
of rebuilding on the old site. The Rev. Forrest Smith had preached the 
first sermon to a large congregation, and attendance continued good. 
The Rev. M. H. Tuttle of Oxford took over on Wednesday On 13 
October, however, the Times reported that the revival had closed. "The 
pastor announced that there was not sufficient interest manifested to 
warrant its continuance." 

Probably the most familiar pattern, however, was that reported in 
the Quarterly Conference Records beginning 15 August 1890. The 
Reverend J. B. Hurley, preacher in charge from 1888 through 1890, 
reported to the stewards, in answer to the traditional question 
concerning the state of the church, that "The spiritual state of the 
Church I think is fair." There were many, he wrote, who "understand 


experimental Godliness, and we have many who we fear enjoy but little 
if any religion. We expect to hold revival services this fall." On 28 
November he reported to the quarterly conference, "We are in the 
midst of a glorious revival now and while our people we believe 
enjoyed religion before yet we think that we are on a much higher plane 
now." On 24 December 1890 he reported to the same group, "The 
church here is in a better condition now than it has been since I have 
been its pastor. I think there is more spirituality in the church than 
there has been for years . . . and we have more who will pray in public 
than ever before, more who will lead prayer meeting than ever before. 
Of course this is largely the result of the Great Revival so recendy held 
in our church under the management of Mr. Fife." If, in applying the 
criterion of "spirituality," the minister might be inclined to see what he 
wished to see, there is less ambiguity in his other two standards: 
praying in public and leading prayer meeting are unmistakable external 

A Methodist conference, at any level, was an event of considerable 
significance: the general conference, including part or all of the state; 
the district conference; and the quarterly conference within a church. 
What was lost in the twentieth century was newspaper coverage. In the 
19th century, as has appeared, the Franklin Times gave attention to "the 
conference meeting at Mocksville," the Raleigh District meeting at 
Franklin ton, and others, and the Louisburg church noted in its records 
its invitation to the conference to meet in Louisburg. Writers on the 
church took note of precisely the occasions when the general 
conference met in Louisburg, as Mabel Davis did in the Franklin Times 
in 1919. 

Quarterly Conferences assiduously appointed delegates to the 
various conferences, "District Stewards," and alternates. What was it 
like to function as a delegate at a general conference? A letter written by 
Matthew S. Davis to his wife Louisa Hill Davis when Davis was a 
delegate to the general conference held at the beginning of December 
1871 describes the delegate's function. 

Charlotte NC 
Dec 1st 1871 

My Dear wife 

Here I am in the city of Charlotte comfortably quartered with a 
Presbyterian family named Macauly. They are nice people and treat me 
very cleverly. We had snow this morning three inches deep, it commenced 
falling yesterday evening about 3 o'clock and continued all night. We are 
likely to have a sloppy time. I have just left Aunt Lucy's room where I 
spent half an hour in social conversation with her, Uncle Jesse and Mrs. N. 


H. D. Wilson or Tenny Gregory that used to be. This is the first social visit 
I have made to any one yet except to dine with Clem Dowd, an old 
College mate. My time is entirely taken up with conference duties, so 
much so that I have not heard a sermon yet nor do I expect to hear one till 
Sunday. When not in conference I am on duty as a member of the 
Committee on education. I had a good time on the way, traveled all night, 
landed here about half an hour by sun — slept but little if any on the way, 
have no idea yet when I shall get back home probably not before 
Wednesday or Thursday. I find the conference to be a very large and 
unwieldy body consisting of about 250 members including ten or twelve 
who are absent and consequently not on the list herewith enclosed. I think 
it more than likely that Bro Brent will be our preacher next year, almost 
certain. They can't find a man who is to be moved, who will suit us. All the 
single men to be changed are young and without experience and I have 
objected to all such when their names have been proposed. The Presiding 
E is very communicative on the subject and has shown a willingness to 
have Bro Brent returned or removed as I may deem best (if he can) but he 
has not yet proposed any man for whom I am willing to swap. It seems 
that the only single man of age and experience whom we can get is [. . . ] 
and men who know both parties tell me that if that exchange is made we 
shall be badly worsted. As the matter now stands I think you may count 
pretty sure on having Bro Brent next year. I find Charlotte to be a business 
like place — many fine stores, magnificent residences and things on a grand 
scale generally. I begin to feel homesick, find it an uphill business sleeping 
by myself these cold nights. Want to see the children and their Ma very 
much. Kiss them all for me. 

Yours fondly and truly 


As a communication, the letter was not intended for publication. 
The recipient did not save it for posterity but for herself. But neither 
could have guessed how significant its picture of family life, and 
perhaps the inner workings of the church, could be more than a century 
and a quarter later. 

As for the business of the conference, the process of negotiation 
was going forward and the chief stated standard being applied in the 
selection of a preacher was experience. N. F. Reid was the presiding 
elder. "Uncle Jesse" Cunninggim, with "Aunt Lucy" his wife, had been 
minister in Louisburg from 1866 through 1869, and O. J. Brent was in 
his first year in Louisburg in 1870. Hearing sermons was clearly part of 


the reward of being a delegate. What the committee on education was 
working on is not revealed. 

In August 1885 Annie Thomas Fuller wrote briefly of a conference 
in Louisburg from the point of view of a member of the congregation 
whose home accommodated some of the delegates. "The District 
Conference, M.E. Church South, convened in our Town on the 24th 
ult. The crowd was large, the heat intense, consequently, the enjoyment 
of nearly all was marred, I went out only four times during the session. 
Our appointed guests were Rev. Mr. Renn and Dr. Sikes, the latter did 
not come. Rev. Mr. Nelson spent one night and breakfasted with us, 
and for dinner on Saturday, we had Rev. Mr. [William Capers] Norman 
and wife, our former pastor, Mrs. Barrow and Mrs. Harrison, friends of 
the long ago. Mrs. B. however was sick and did not come. The others 
came and the hours passed off pleasantly" 

Activities of the Congregation 

Conduct Unbecoming a Methodist. The Franklin Times for 6 
December 1872 printed this succinct report: "A young man behaved 
disorderly in church a few nights ago. He won't do so any more." 
Under the heading "Misbehavior in Church," the paper reported on 17 
March 1893 that other churches had had the same experience: "Of all 
the uncalled for acts that people can be guilty of, the worst to our mind 
is 'misbehavior in church,' and the TIMES regrets that Louisburg 
should be inhabited by any one who would be guilty of such conduct. 
It is a reflection upon any one's raising. Our attention has been called to 
the fact that on several occasions recently a number of boys have been 
guilty of misbehavior in more than one of the churches in town, and we 
mention it here to say that if such behavior is repeated, the names will 
be published in these columns." 

According to quarterly conference reports concerning Methodist 
discipline, it was customarily good. The minutes for 6 March 1884 
contain a favorable "Report on the State of the Church" by Minister W 
S. Rone: "The general state of the Church is good, there is litde 
violation of discipline, no important case of which we have 
knowledge." Methodist discipline was carefully defined. Therefore it 
comes as a surprise that the minutes for the meeting of 18 August 1884 
report some infractions: "We are sorry to have to report that the 
Church has been troubled recentiy by several of its members engaging 
in dancing and one or two cases of violation of discipline in other ways. 
We are glad however to say after a pastoral interview that nearly all have 
expressed contrition and a purpose to do so no more, and we trust they 
will not. In other respects the state of the church is fair. . . ." 


Congregants also had an eye out for infractions. Annie Fuller wrote 
in her diary of her shock at the misbehavior of certain Methodists on 30 
December 1865. Her son Edwin Wiley Fuller, one of her two "lambs of 
Christ," was home from the University. He attended a party one night 
at "Mr. B. Foster's" four miles outside town. "Edwin returned this 
morning after sitting up all night, worried and perplexed, and felt that 
he had not been compensated for his ride through a hard rain, and loss 
of sleep. They danced the whole night, and several Methodists were on 
the floor, and dissipation of other kinds was carried on. Vice and 
immorality stalk through the land without restraint. It is alarming, and 
time that Christians should set their faces sternly against all such." Poor 
Edwin doubdess suffered intensely. And he was there all night. Yet on 9 
June 1866, when he again comes home from college, this time 
"looking very thin and delicate," his mother writes that he has visited 
too much with young ladies and not "applied himself to his books" as 
he should. But surely they did not dance or indulge in other forms of 

On the international scene, the Times for 17 August 1900 reprinted 
an accusation against the clergy. In a long article on the issue of 
imperialism in the presidential campaign, B. B. Bobbitt, who would 
not seem to have been a local writer, accused President McKinley of 
being influenced by his political handler, Mark Hanna, to commit an 
act of "criminal aggression" in the name of "manifest destiny." 
"Ministers of the gospel," Bobbitt wrote, go along with the doctrine of 
manifest destiny because they see in it an opportunity to "christianize 
the Filipinos." "Our civilizing influence," Bobbitt continued, "is 
demonstrated by the fact that in the two years our soldiers have been in 
Manila saloons have increased from to 47. That is civilizing them 
with a vengeance." 

Church -sponsored Entertainment. On 3 February 1888, according to 
the Times, the ladies of the Methodist church were to give a Rainbow 
Party at the Eagle Hotel on Friday. There would be "something to 
amuse and entertain every age and sex," and "both the inner and outer 
man shall be satisfied." Doors would open at 7 1/2 o'clock, admission 
would be ten cents. 

On 22 February 1889 the Times announced that the "ladies of the 
Methodist church" would give a Japanese wedding at the hotel. 
Admission was ten cents. A cakewalk was among the attractions, and 
the Parsonage Aid Society of the Methodist church would benefit. 

On 19 October 1900 the Times announced upon request that "the 
ladies of the Methodist church will hold an 'Old Maids' Convention' at 
the opera house in Louisburg during the week following the State 
Fair." The director was Miss Irene McKie, added to the Louisburg 


College faculty that fall to take charge of "physical culture," elecution, 
and the kindergarten. It was sure to be a "pleasing and entertaining 
affair," and the house would be crowded "to see the antics of the Old 
Maids." At the beginning of November it was reported to have been a 
success, especially for the "ludicrous costumes." Perhaps Miss McKie 
even wore one of the costumes. There is no indication whether this 
event was staged to make money for the new Methodist church. 

The Church and the Society. The church was victimized by crime. On 
14 April 1893 the Times referred to the recent theft of their bible. "John 
Lyon, the noted negro thief, who stole the Methodist church bible and 
many other articles in this section, is again in Vance Jail. He has made 
two escapes from the jail of that county since he was placed there in 
January. The last time he was only out about nine hours before he had 
stolen a horse. . . ." 

Members of the church participated in local chapters of state and 
national organizations, according to various Franklin Times reports. 
Daniel S. Hill attended state meetings of the Friends of Temperance in 
Raleigh. M. S. Davis was, in the early 1890s, president of the local 
chapter of the Farmers' Alliance, strong in the South and the Middle 
West, locally concerned to resist the tobacco trust. According to the 
Franklin Times, G. S. Baker, Sunday-school superintendent, presided, 
in the absence of the president, over a meeting of the local chapter of 
the White Supremacy Club. Baker was also president in 1894, again 
according to the Times, of the Franklin County Bible Society, and M. H. 
Aycocke was in charge of the depository. The bibles were sold at cost; 
there was no profit. 

Officers of the local Masonic lodge, according to the Times for 8 
January 1897, were Methodists Joseph J. Barrow, George S. Baker, and 
R. R. Harris. In 1908, the Times reported on 20 November, "Rev. F. A. 
Bishop will preach a sermon to the Masonic Fraternity at the Methodist 
Church in Louisburg on Sunday morning Nov. 29th, 1908, at 11:00 
o'clock. All Masons are cordially invited to meet at the Masonic Hall at 
10:30 and march in a body to the church." 

R. R. Harris, postmaster, ran for clerk of the superior court on the 
Populist ticket (Times, 14 Sept. 1894). He was elected and held the 
office in a report of 31 Jan. 1896. Harris had opposed some policies of 
the Fusionist (Republican and Populist) party and published his 
objections in a publication called The Caucasian. J. J. Barrow was 
serving as postmaster in 1895. 

A chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was formed 
in Louisburg in 1902. Officers in 1904 were Annie Fuller (Mrs. Dr. J. 
E.) Malone, president, and Mrs. J. L. Palmer, secretary. Other members 


who belonged to the Methodist Church were Mrs. H. A. Crenshaw, 
Mrs. S. P. Burt, Mrs. Matthew S. Davis, Mrs. W. E. White, Mrs. Asa 
Parham, Mrs. W. B. Barrow, Mrs. S. J. Parham, Mrs. Jordan S. 
Barrow, Mrs. D. T. Smithwick, Mrs. Hugh Perry, and, in later decades, 
Mrs. M. M. Person and Mrs. J. W. Mann. A service at the church had 
been held in honor of Robert E. Lee's birthday, the Times reported on 
24 January 1908. The UDC raised funds for a number of causes, 
notably that of erecting the Confederate monument on Main Street in 
front of the College. Dedication services were held in August 1914 

"What Is Being Done for the Education oflbuth?" The first two 
questions asked at quarterly conferences, as an inheritance from the 
earliest days of Methodism, were "Any complaints?" and "Any 
appeals?" Then came, "What is being done for the instruction of 
children?" In the earliest minutes of the church quarterly conference, 
for 19 February 1859, the preacher in charge reported that there was 
one Sunday school in a tolerably good condition, an efficient corps of 
teachers, and good attendance of "scholars." For several years the 
answer to this question will be that there is one Sunday school in good 
condition. On 9 September 1861 the answer was more specific: "1 
Superintendent, 9 teachers 40 scholars, 150 volumes in library." On 4 
November 1862 this answer was somewhat expanded: there were six 
teachers, forty scholars, one hundred and fifty volumes in the library. 
"We have been holding monthly meetings for the children which have 
been conducted in a catechetical manner and we hope have been 
spiritually profitable. Signed, M. C. Thomas, PC." 

When Thomas W Guthrie arrived at the beginning of 1863, his 
report to the 3 February Quarterly Conference was as follows: "Upon 
my arrival here I learned it was the custom to suspend the exercises of 
the S School during the winter months[;] consequendy there is no 
school now in operation. I learn that the school since the last Report 
previous to its suspension was not in a very flourishing condition. We 
purpose resuming its exercises as soon as the inclement season of winter 
shall pass away. I hope by the blessings of God to make it both 
intereting and profitable." The school had resumed by the time of the 
next conference on 1 1 May and was reported to be "in a prosperous 
condition." "We labor under two difficulties — the want of Teachers 
(especially male [?] teachers) & of books." By 6 July the Sunday school 
was in flourishing condition, much increased in membership and 
interest. But Guthrie was very sorry to report that "many members of 
the church seemed to take very litde interest in the S School not even 
enough to visit it — We need more Teachers & Books and the former 
seems to be as hard to obtain as the latter." By 21 September things are 


looking better. There are nine teachers, sixty scholars, and two hundred 
and fifty books in the library. And $19.75 has been collected for 
"Sunday school purposes." 

This trend continued, with increases in the number of scholars and 
the amount of money collected, until suspension for the winter in 
January 1865; the presence of Federal troops in the town prevented the 
Sunday school's being reorganized in the spring. In November of that 
year Mr. Moran, the preacher in charge, reported a Sunday school "not 
in flourishing condition." In February 1866, under Mr. Cunninggim, 
the school was still not open, but by April it had thirty pupils, and by 
the following October it had "15 teachers — 75 pupils — 125 vol in 
library — $18 raised and collected for S school purposes." The Sunday 
school continued to suspend activities in the winter and resume in the 

In 1870 Edwin Wiley Fuller became superintendent of the Sunday 
school, having taken over his father Jones Fuller's business following 
his father's death in that year. Records of his tenure have not survived. 
We do have, however, his record book as treasurer of the church in 

The vitality of the Sunday school surprised minister W S. Rone on 
11 February 1884. His report to the Quarterly Conference was as 
follows: "There is one Sunday school apparently in very good 
condition, numbering on its roll 12 officers and teachers and 149 
scholars, which is something extraordinary in the ratio it bears to the 
membership of the Church, which at this time numbers only a few 
more." Through 1884 and 1885 numbers of members varied with 
incidence of measles and extraordinary weather, and on 27 February 
1885 it consisted of about a hundred pupils, two officers, and nine 

The Reverend J. B. Hurley, preacher in charge 1888-1891, 
reported at length in the Quarterly Conference reports on 28 January 
1889: "we have two Sunday Schools in connection with the charge, 
one at this place and a mission school in the country, at which place I 
have visited and preached." Sunday schools at the circuit churches were 
often established by members of the congregation of the Louisburg 
station. In this case, "the school in the country," Hurley wrote, has 
recendy been reorganized by Bro. [George S.] Baker, who is now 
superintendent." As for Louisburg, Hurley continued, "The average 
attendance is about 70. From what I have seen and learned so far, the 
school is mosdy composed of children and young people, only a small 
per cent of the adult and older part of our people take any interest in the 
Sunday school work. . . . We use the Nashville literature, except one 
class uses Cooks." 


Sunday-school conventions, according to the Franklin Times, 15 
February 1889, would be held on 22 February in each county seat. 
"Each county convention appoints five delegates to the state 
convention." And a Methodist Sunday-school party would be held 
Friday evening at 7:30 in the tobacco warehouse on Nash Street. All 
other Sunday-schools were invited (15 February 1889). 

In the spring, in the Quarterly Conference reports for 22 April 
1889, Mr. Hurley reported three Sunday schools, one in Louisburg and 
two "mission schools" in the country, one under George S. Baker and 
the other under Paul Jones. On 19 May 1890 Mr. Hurley listed the 
delegates to the Sunday-school district conference to be held in June in 
Cary; women began to be listed in the records in official capacities, first 
probably the Sunday-school teachers. The delegates were George S. 
Baker, S. D. Bagly, Miss Alma Huff, Miss Lucy Perry; alternates were J. 
J. Barrow, Dr. W H. Nicholson, Miss Lucy Pleasants, and Miss Millie 

"As to the pastoral instruction of children," Mr. Hurley reported in 
December 1890, " I will say that I speak to all the children wherever I 
meet them and especially in the homes, and seek as far as possible an 
intimate acquaintance with them and speak to them according to their 
years whenever convenient about Christ and salvation." On 2 June 
1891 he expressed some undefined dissatisfaction with the Sunday 
school, adding, "We want soon to erect a Sunday school room at the 
rear of the Church which will gready aid our S. S. work." On 14 
September 1891 he reported that attendance in Louisburg was 
unsatisfactory. "The sole reason we think for the non-attendance of so 
many is primarily due to the indifference of parents, the parents do not 
attend nor insist upon their children attending." 

On 3 February 1896 Pastor G. F Smith reported that in the Sunday 
school "special attention is given to singing which has interested the 
children. Forty-six songbooks have been bought, and a teachers' 
meeting is held every Tuesday night." On 31 July 1896 he reported to 
the Quarterly Conference that hot weather and sickness among the 
children had decreased attendance, but by 22 February 1897 
attendance had improved. However, comparatively few of the married 
people attended Sunday school. The 23 October 1897 the report is 
detailed: "We have but one Sunday School, but M. S. Davis is having a 
good school at Prospect, four miles from Louisburg and M. K. 
Pleasants has charge of another at Piney Grove. The School in 
Louisburg has had an average attendance during the last year of 90. 
The young people's hymnal and the literature of our church are used. 
Teachers have excellent helps in the magazine, Dr. Hoss's Expository 
Notes, Peloubefs [>] Notes and the Sunday School Times. The 
teachers meeting has an attendance of from 7 to 10." 


By 1897 a standard question in the book provided for quarterly 
conference reports concerned Sunday school, Epworth Leagues, and 
pastoral care of children. On 30 August 1897 the Reverend G. F. Smith 
reported that there was no Epworth League. However, a League was 
organized in Louisburg in early March 1900. According to the Franklin 
Times, 9 March 1900, "Quite a number of the members of the 
Methodist church of this place assembled last Sunday evening and 
organized an Epworth League." Dr. S. P. Burt was elected president. 
This was the senior Epworth League as distinct from the junior 
organization, which would thrive in later decades. Vice-presidents of 
the adult group were Minnie Egerton, Mabel Davis (aged twenty-seven 
in 1900), and Mattie Ballard; secretary was William Richardson, Jr.; 
treasurer was Bessie Kearney The organization would meet each 
Sunday evening at 8:30. On 6 April 1900 the Franklin Times reported 
that the following members attended the state Epworth League 
Conference in Raleigh: Reverend M. T Plyler, Mrs. Kate Beckwith, 
teacher of "Higher English, French, Mental and Moral Science" at 
Louisburg College (Willard, p. 107), and Misses Mabel Thomas and 
Blanche Egerton. 

Minister Smith reported on 23 October 1897 that a "young 
people's social meeting is held every two weeks and it has had a 
tendency to keep some of our young people from hurtful worldly 
amusements." It would seem apparent that the church's concern for 
young people did not eventuate in the formation of a successful junior 
Epworth League at this time. 

On 23 October 1887 the Rev. G. E Smith, following his report of 
the organization of a Woman's Foreign Missionary Society, noted, "We 
have also a society of Bright Jewels." That society was quite active in 
November 1896: "The concert by the Bright Jewels at the Methodist 
Church last Sunday night was very entertaining and interesting. The 
children all did very well, and at the close quite a nice sum was raised for 
the missionary cause" (Times, 27 Nov.). The Bright Jewels would seem 
to have been the children's equivalent of the Woman's Missionary 
Society. It was still in existence in about 1930 and met at the home of 
Mary Alfred Cooper (Mrs. Fred) Hicks on Happy Hill in the enclave of 
descendants of W H. Furgurson by the names of Hicks, Howard, and 

In 1885 Anna Fuller reported women representatives to a district 
conference meeting in Louisburg. On 28 May 1898 a woman again 
joins the men listed in quarterly conference minutes as attending a 
conference. Elected delegates to the Sunday school conference were M. 
S. Davis, Jr., L. P. Hicks, M. K. Pleasants, and Mrs. J. A. Turner. 

Sunday-school record books for the 1890s are quite specific as to 
numbers and programs. "Record for Sunday Nov 25/94 Religious 


Services Conducted by the Supt. Opening Song He Leadeth Me. 
Officers & Teachers present 12, Scholars present 66 Scripture Lesson 
Mark 3-22 to 35 Subject of Lesson opposition [>] to Christ. Collection 
70 cents." On 12 May 1895 ("Collection 65 cts. Present 67. Weather 
Changeable") there is a list of the teachers of the twelve classes: Miss 
Emma Wells, M. S. Davis, Miss Alderman, Miss Mary Davis, Miss 
Essie Byrum, Miss Budd, Miss Tuck, Mrs. J. S. Barrow, Mrs. 
Moorman, Mrs. Nelson, Miss Mary Harris, Miss Lucy Pleasants. Total 
on roll, 103. 

The Official Sunday School Record Book for 1899-1900 lists a bible 
class, taught by Matthew S. Davis, 10 members; an infant class, for 
which the teacher is not named, with 21 members; "Class No. 2," 
taught by J. J. Barrow, 12 members; "Class 8," taught by Miss Mamie 
Smith, 14 members; "Class 5," taught by Mrs. T A. Person, 8 
members; "Class 9," taught by Kate (Mrs. S. T.) Beckwith, 6 members; 
"No. 6," taught by Miss Mabel Davis, 16 members; "Class No. 7," 
taught by W G. Rackley, 9 members; "Class No. 10," taught by Mrs. W 
K. A. Williams, 7 members (all names of members of this class are of 
males youthful at the time, e.g., Elliot Egerton, Frank Egerton, Blair 
Tucker, etc.); "Class No. 3," taught by Mrs. Richardson, 13 members, 
all female names; "Class No. 4," taught by Mrs. M. C. Pleasants, 5 
members, probably youthful males; "Class No. 3 (>)," taught by Miss 
M. W Brown, 12 members; and "Class No. 1," taught by Miss Mary 
M. Davis, 12 members, clearly all youthful males. Altogether twelve 
classes, twelve teachers, 145 pupils. Four teachers were on the College 
staff or faculty (three Davises and Mrs. Beckwith), and Mrs. Williams 
and Mrs. Richardson may have been also. 

The record for 1900 is similar, a bible class and an infant class and 
now twelve additional classes, probably because there are two classes 
made up of "students at the college." It is tempting to list the name of 
every pupil, so many were well-known in Louisburg still in the 
mid-20th century, and so many of these names have already figured in 
this history. 

The records are detailed as to how many pupils attended each class 
each Sunday and what the collection was. They are also detailed as to 
what went forward in what must have been a frame or opening session 
each Sunday of the year: who opened the service, what song was sung, 
how many teachers and scholars were present and how many absent, 
what scripture verses were read, the subject of the lesson, the collection, 
the benediction, and even the weather. 

And always there was entertainment. The Times announced on 30 
August 1907 that "all the white Sunday schools of Louisburg" would 
picnic at Cascine, the Perry place outside Louisburg. 


The Missionary Society. From the earliest days of Methodist history 
there had seemingly always existed a standard question concerning the 
education of youth in the procedure of the quarterly conference 
meetings. No such question existed concerning activities of women, 
who were assumed to be included in the various adult activities. In fact, 
the records of the trustees and stewards included reference to women as 
new members or as deceased or as active in the Sunday school 
beginning in the 1880's. The Missionary Society, as it was called for 
several decades into the twentieth century, was specifically a woman's 

The story of the earliest efforts at organization and the fruit they 
bore appears in the volume Seven Times Seven, a history of the Woman's 
Missionary Society of the North Carolina Conference. Mrs. Mortimer 
C. Pleasants of the Louis burg Society wrote this sketch for this 1929 
publication. "Louisburg, 1866. In 1866, probably prior to that date, 
there was a Parsonage Aid Society in Louisburg, which did missionary 
work of some kind. The members raised a part of their money by 
making articles which they sold to the college girls, and the collection 
from one monthly Sunday service was to be used by the women for 
missions. In that year Mr. Fletcher Reid was here either as pastor or as 
president of the college. [Frank Louis Reid was pastor of the Church 
1874-1878 and president of the College as well during the last two of 
those years.] In 1870 Uncle Jesse Cunninggim organized the first 
missionary society in this church. [The much-loved Jesse A. 
Cunniggim was minister 1866-1870.]" Mrs. Julia S. Barrow, Mrs. 
Pleasants continues, was president of the society under Cunninggim's 
pastorate. At the time of the writing, Mrs. Barrow was ninety years old. 
Although the records were lost in a fire in the 1920s, there is no 
question that there was an organized missionary society during the 
closing decades of the 19th century. In fact, "for some time there was 
both a parsonage aid and a missionary society, practically the same 
women belonging to both." 

Mrs. Pleasants lists certain leaders during this period. "Before 1895 
there was one young woman, Miss Josephine Pleasants, who had a 
great missionary spirit, and though an invalid, herself, she sent boxes to 
Miss Leila Roberts [Methodist missionary] in Saltillo, Mexico, quilts, 
along with other articles and money." (Josephine Pleasants is 
memorialized in a stained-glass window in the church.) Rev. and Mrs. 
M. T Plyler, 1899-1903, promoted the society. Other leading women 
were Mrs. Frank B. McKinne and Mrs. T A. Person, who were elected 
to conference offices in the Missionary Society. 

There were in 1929, Mrs. Pleasants continued, "three living charter 
members of this old society, all of them having passed their 90th 
birthdays." Mrs. Celeste Smith, "teaches Sunday school at her bedside 


when she is well enough." The other two were Mrs. Julia Barrow and 
Mrs. Lou Hill Davis [in the 1920s living with one of her daughters in 
Warrenton]. Records of a meeting on 1 February 1880 listed these 
officers: "President, Mrs. W. C. Doub [wife of the College president]; 
vice-presidents, Mrs. C. Malone and Mrs. M. S. Davis (Lou Hill 
Davis); corresponding secretary, Mrs. M. E. Fuller; treasurer, Mrs. J. 
S. [Julia] Barrow. Money collected, $8.00." In 1929, Mrs. Pleasants 
wrote, the auxiliary "is thoroughly alive and active in all the 
departments, doing good work." 

In response to a question concerning "Missions," G. F. Smith 
reported on 23 October 1887, "We have organized a Woman's Foreign 
Missionary Society with a membership of about 30. Eight take the 
Woman's Missionary Advocate. The first regular meeting was held last 
Wednesday and was well attended and was very interesting." 

The secretary's record book of the society, with minutes dating 
from 1897 to 1909, presents first the constitution and by-laws. "The 
object of this society," according to the Constitution, "shall be to aid 
Christian women and children in the evangelization of women and 
children in our mission fields, and to raise the funds for this work." The 
Methodist Conference requested a donation from the Church for 
foreign missions, and the Women's Missionary Society was the source 
of these funds. Membership was open to "any person paying a regular 
subscription of $1.00 a year or $.10 a month." The first regular 
meeting was held on 20 October 1897. 

The goal was to spread the faith, specifically to women and 
children, and the study of foreign countries clarified this goal. "The 
topic for discussion for Wednesday November 3, 1897 is India." At the 
September meeting in 1900, "Mrs. J. S. Barrow kindly read a selection 
on the life of the Dowager Empress of China which showed her to be 
quite a remarkable character, and at the head of the present trouble in 

On 2 April 1898 Mrs. M. C. Pleasants was chosen to represent the 
society at the annual missionary conference to be held in Durham April 
13-18, 1898. On 16 November 1899 Mrs. J. J. Barrow read a selection 
entitled "Cuba in American Eyes." "Mrs. R. R. Harris and Miss Mabel 
Davis were appointed to read at our next meeting. Mrs. Allen was also 
appointed to see that Miss Mabel did not fail to bring a selection" 
(presumably Miss Mabel was absent-minded). 

These minutes include the names of women members of the 
congregation not given elsewhere. The original membership of 1897 
and that for 1898 was Mrs. J. S. Barrow, Mrs. M. K. Pleasants, Mrs. 
Jim A. Turner, Mrs. Mortimer Pleasants, Mrs. Matthew S. Davis, Mrs. 
J. J. Barrow, Mrs. D. F. Cook, Miss Mabel Davis, Miss Mary Davis, 
Mrs. Frank Egerton, Mrs. R. Z. Egerton, Mrs. G. W Ford, Mrs. R. R. 


Harris, Mrs. L. P. Hicks, Mrs. W. H. Pleasants, Miss Cora Richardson, 
Mrs. G. F. Smith, Mrs. W. K. A. Williams. All the Davises on the list 
were on the College faculty or staff, Mrs. R. Z. Egerton was the 
daughter of the president, and Mrs. Frank Egerton was his sister. In 
1898 Mrs. Sam Meadows was added to the list. Miss Lucy Foster was 
also active in that year. 

Additions in 1899 and 1900 were Mrs. G. W Ford (Helen Waddell, 
who attended the College and married a Louisburg resident), Miss 
Neppie Davis (of the College staff, but not a kinswomen of Matthew 
Davis), Mrs. M. T. (recent bride of the new minister), Mrs. L. B. 
Ballard ("Aunt Laura," though not kin, of the College staff), Mrs. 
Crompton, who may also have been of the College staff, and May 
Jones, who certainly was of the College faculty (she appears under 
"Notables of the Congregation"). 

By 1903 new active members include Mrs. S. P. Burt (Viola Davis, 
wife of Dr. Samuel Perry Burt and cousin of Matthew Davis), Mrs. E. 
S. Foster (wife of Dr. Ernest Foster), Mrs. J. E. Malone ("Mrs. Dr. 
Malone," daughter of diary writer Ann Thomas Fuller), Mrs. D. T. 
Smithwick (wife of the dentist Dr. Daniel T. Smithwick; these two 
would be staunch church members well past mid-century), Mrs. S. J. 
Parham and Mrs. Asa Parham (daughter of Edwin Fuller), Mrs. Tom 
Person, Miss Mary Underwood (of the College faculty), Mrs. T B. 
Bilder, Mrs. W H. Waddell, "Mrs. James Holliday, Mrs. Nellie B. 
Hester, Miss Mary Malone, Miss (?) Malone, Miss Eleanor Cooke, Miss 
Aycock, Miss High." 

By 1908 Mrs. W E. White was recording secretary, and the 
membership burgeoned to thirty- five, adding Mrs. Dora Allen, Mrs. 
Archibald W Alston, Mrs. P. G. Alston, Mrs. Fred Batde, Mrs. R. H. 
Bishop, Mrs. E. F Early, Mrs. James Holloway, Mrs. Kemp P. Hill, Mrs. 
E. C. Jones, Mrs. W R. Mills (wife of the principal of the public school, 
later to be superintendent of Franklin County schools), Mrs. David F 
McKinne, Mrs. Wiley Person, Mrs. G. R. Scoggins, and Miss Mattie 

A New Church Building 

The "first brick building," constructed in 1850, required repairs in 
the 1880s. The trustees reported on 21 September 1885 that $107.41 
was spent on "repairs and furnishings to the church and parsonage 
(mainly to the church), and $40 or $50 more was needed on fencing." 
More extensive repairs were reported in the Franklin Times on 31 
August 1888: repairs to the Methodist Church were not yet completed 
but services were being held there. "The improvement in the church is 


very great and when the windows are put in it will be one of the 
prettiest and neatest churches in this section." 

On 20 September 1886 the stewards reported in Quarterly 
Conference minutes the acquisition of an organ for $163. This was 
almost surely the church's first organ; in the 1850s, it seems apparent 
that D. S. Hill as choir director used a pitch pipe and no instruments. 
There was no reference in the records to a piano. 

First, a New Parsonage. On 31 July 1896 the Quarterly Conference 
minutes reported that the Church had sold lots bordering Main, 
Spring, and Noble streets for a total of $1826, which was to be 
expended on a new parsonage. Pastor G. F. Smith reported that these 
sales were recorded in the Office of the Register of Deeds; they were in 
the 1970s researched and reported in detail by Captain Nathan Cole. 
The building committee consisted of W H. Macon, M. K. Pleasants, G. 
W Ford, and W H. Nicholson. The old parsonage was sold and the 
money used in the construction of a new one, which cost $1350, facing 
Main Street on the lot next to that later sold to R. R. Harris. The Times 
reported on 15 January 1897 that the "Rev. G. F. Smith, the popular 
pastor of the Methodist Church, [has] moved into the new parsonage, 
which, by the way, is a nice and well arranged residence. A number of 
his flock gave the Pastor a very 'severe pounding' the night after he 
moved in, and he has been returning thanks ever since." 

On 23 October 1897, and again on 6 November 1898, George. S. 
Baker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, reported to the quarterly 
conference that the church property was in good condition. The new 
"two-story frame" parsonage was in first-class condition and was 
insured for $1000 for three years from 28 December 1896. The value 
of the church was $3000, the value of the parsonage was $2500. 

The 1900 Church Building. At the Quarterly Conference meeting of 
5 November 1898, "J. J. Barrow and L. P. Hicks were named as a 
committee in building a new church." According to the minutes of that 
meeting, the minister was G. F. Smith, the presiding elder E. A. Yates. 
Stewards present at the meeting were W H. Macon, M. K. Pleasants, 
R. Z. Egerton, W H. Furgurson, J. J. Barrow, and W H. Nicholson; 
Alston Nelson was elected a steward for the coming year. The only 
trustee present was M. S. Davis. 

In 1899 a new Methodist church was under construction. On 28 
July 1900 the Times reported that the "old Methodist church building is 
being torn down this week and work will soon begin on the new 
church. We learn that the Methodists will hold services in the Court 
House while the new church is being built." 


Louisburg Methodist Church in the 1930's. Courtesy of Sammy Beasley of Louisburg. 

To pay for the new church, the Methodist women set about raising 
money. "The dinner given by the ladies of the Methodist church at 
Allen Bros & Hill's new store on last Tuesday was one that an epicurean 
would delight in" {Times, 20 October 1899). "Quite a considerable 
sum" was raised for the new church. "The ladies" also presented a 
cantata, "Esther the Beautiful Queen," at the Opera House on April 28 
{Times, 5 May 1899). Everyone was there, and thirty- three men, 
women, and children made up the cast and chorus. The leading role 
was sung by Mrs. P. H. Cooke; "she is a great favorite with all lovers of 
music." It was organized and directed by Mrs. R. G. Hart and Mrs. Dr. 
J. E. Malone. "The door receipts amounting to considerably more than 
100 dollars were donated to the fund ... for the erection of the new 
Methodist church." On the list of those participating were the names of 
people active in the church in the first half of the 20th century: Arthur 


Person, Ernest Furgurson, Edwin Malone, and J. L. Palmer, as well as 
of non-Methodists: Lynn Hall, Mrs. A. M. Hall, W. E. Uzzell, etc. 

The first service held in the new church was reported in the 
Franklin Times on 13 July 1900. "The interior of the new Methodist 
church since the seats have all been placed presents a beautiful 
appearance, and was gready admired by the large congregation last 
Sunday. It was the first service held in the new church, and the 
congregation very properly invited Rev G. F. Smith, the prime mover 
in its establishment, to be present, and preach the first sermon. He 
preached a most excellent and appropriate sermon, and was heard by a 
large and appreciative congregation. Rev. J. T Gibbs, Presiding Elder, 
preached a good sermon in the new church at night." 

The dedication of the new church took place on 22 May 1904. The 
Franklin Times reported it under "Dedication of the New Methodist 
Church." "The Methodist congregation after weeks and months of toil 
and sacrifice at last had the pleasure of seeing the fruition of their labors 
in the dedication of the beautiful new church on last Sunday The glad 
day proved to be an ideal one, and an immense audience gathered to 
hear Bishop Duncan's sermon and witness the ceremonies." Other 
church services in town were suspended. Bishop Duncan preached 
from Matthew 5: 13-15, "Ye are the salt of the earth, etc." The bishop 
"held his audience in rapt attention as he pled with them for pure lives 
that they might be shining lights in the world." He maintained "that 
the church was not built for the glorification of the Methodist 
denomination alone but as a means of saving souls." He "denounced 
that class of our fellow citizens who called the church a 
'meeting-house.'" Bishop Duncan was described as "a fine type of the 
old time Southern gentleman." 

"The church was handsomely decorated with palms, ferns, water 
Mies and a wealth of roses. The music was a feature of the great event, 
being pronounced very fine by those who heard it. At the conclusion of 
the sermon the officers of the church came forward and through Mr. M. 
S. Davis as spokesman, formally presented the church to the Bishop." 

Stained-glass Windows. The Franklin Times on 9 March 1900 
announced that the "young ladies of the College" would give an 
"entertainment" at the opera house on the following Monday night. 
Proceeds would go to the memorial window which "the young ladies 
of the College will place in the new Methodist church." The window 
referred to was to placed to the left facing the apse; the inscription is 
"L.F.C. 1899," for Louisburg Female College. It was the gift of the 
faculty and student body of Louisburg Female College, of which 
Matthew S. Davis was president at the time. The window depicts a vase 
of Easter lilies, a symbol of resurrection and new life rising above dark 


soil from a bulb seemingly dead when planted (Howard). In 1998 this 
window was framed and mounted in the entrance hall of the new 
fellowship building. 

The windows were thus individually subscribed and financed, in 
most cases by relatives of the persons memorialized. 

Moving counter-clockwise, the next window is dedicated to 
Nicholas Bryor Massenburg (1806-1867), whose notable diary has 
been quoted, and his wife Lucy H. Davis Massenburg (1811-1896). 
Their daughter Mary Francis (1846-1928) married Hugh Hayes Perry 
(1842-1879) (Howard), and their descendants occupied the 
Massenburg house on Highway 561 for many years. The window 
depicts a sheaf of wheat. 

The next window on the north side is inscribed "Presented by 
Former Pastors." It depicts an open bible displaying the names of 
pastors of the church, 1880-1903, with a ship's anchor. Their names 
are W C. Norman, W S. Rone, A. McCullen, J. B. Hurley, L. E. 
Thompson, and G. T Smith. 

The central window in the rear of the church was dedicated to 
David Stimpson McKinne, sixteen-year-old only child of Mr. and Mrs. 
Frank McKinne, killed in a hunting accident on 4 January 1915. 
According to the Church newsletter, "Stan's Script" (Minister Stanley 
Smith) for 28 January 1981, the robes of the boy Jesus in the temple, 
shown with an open bible and a lamp, contain Tiffany Fabrel glass, 
which produces a three-dimensional effect. The inscription is, "Wist ye 
not that I must be about my father's business?" Mr. McKinne was 
superintendent of the Sunday school for many years; Mrs. McKinne 
was president of the Woman's Missionary Society and treasurer of the 
North Carolina Missionary Conference (Howard). 

The first window from the front on the Noble Street side of the 
church is dedicated to Edwin Wiley Fuller (1847-1876) and his wife 
Mary Elizabeth Malone Fuller. The Louisburg poet and novelist, son of 
Jones and Anna Long Fuller, was, late in his short life, superintendent 
of the Sunday school and treasurer of the church. He was the great 
uncle of mid-20th-century church members Edward Leigh Best and 
Rose Malone (Mrs. Umphrey) Lee. Rose Lee's father, Edwin H. 
Malone, was his namesake (Howard). An account of his life appears 
under cc Notable Members of the Congregation," and his mother's diary 
has been extensively quoted in relation to the Civil War period. The 
window bears the face of the angel in the cloud from the tide of his 
major poetic work, The Angel in the Cloud. 

The central three-panel window on the Noble Street side honors 
three members of the Hill family, who have already figured extensively 
in this history. They are "the Rev. Major" Green Hill and wife Mary 
SewaU Hill; Charles Applewhite Hill (1784-1831), a nephew of Green 


Hill, and wife Rebecca Wesley Long Hill; and Daniel Shine Hill 
(1812-1873), son of Charles A. Hill, and wife Susan Irwin Toole Hill. 
Their daughter Sarah Louisa Hill married Matthew S. Davis. The 
windows show a sheaf of wheat with the inscription "I am the bread of 
life" and a bunch of grapes with a harp. 

The next memorial window on the Noble Street side is sacred to 
the memory of Josephine Pleasants, 1855-1897, daughter of W H. and 
Leia Cornelle Pleasants (see "Notable Members of the Congregation"). 
"An active member of this church until her death," Smith wrote, 
"Josephine was the half-sister of Julia Pleasants Scott and an aunt of 
Mildred Scott (Mrs. Edward) Griffin." The inscription is, "She hath 
done what she could," referring to her extensive work for the 
Missionary Society despite her invalidism. 

The last memorial window is inscribed "Sacred to the Memory of 
Mother and Father" W H. and Sallie Furgurson. Willis Holt Furgurson 
(1830-1879) came to Franklin County from Southampton County, 
Virginia. His wife, Sallie Green Baker (1834-1888), must also have 
been from Virginia, as Howard does not indicate that she was a 
member of the local Baker family. W H. Furgurson was a perpetual 
occupant of church offices for decades, and an account of his 
descendants, among whom was Margaret Howard, church historian, is 
included in '"Notable Members of the Congregation." The dedication is 
"Mother and Father," and the window displays an open bible. 

The Bell and the Pulpit Furniture . The Franklin Times published on 5 
June 1903 the story of the installation of the bell in the now 
three-year-old but not yet dedicated Methodist Church at Main and 
Noble. "The new bell for the Methodist Church has been placed in the 
belfry and wrung [sic] for the first service on Wednesday evening [2 
June 1903]. Its weight is 600 pounds, and it has a very nice tone. The 
pulpit furniture has also arrived, and we understand that it is the desire 
of those in charge of the work to have the church entirely completed so 
as to have the dedication services during District Conference." 

Stewards, Trustees, and Notable Members of the Congregation 

The earliest Quarterly Conference Records, beginning in 1857, 
were written in a bound, blank ledger, and the minutes consisted of the 
answers to the standardized questions asked by the Conference. 
Beginning in about 1879, however, these ledgers contained a set of 
printed questions with spaces in which to enter answers. In this ledger 
an "Official Roll" is called for as well as the list of members present at a 
specific meeting. Beginning with the February meeting of the stewards 


in 1884, this list is provided. What is not included is a list of the 
necessarily many Sunday-school teachers who not only taught but met, 
at least in the 1890s, once a week to discuss their work. The names of 
Sunday-school teachers, many of them women, appear in the Sunday 
School Record Book. (See p. 144). 

In 1859 the cast of characters at quarterly conferences consisted of 
men whose names for the most part have already appeared: The death 
of A. H. Ray was noted, and the loss of Joseph A. Whittaker. The 
presiding elder was David B. Nicholson and the preacher in charge T 
Page Ricaud. Stewards were Jones Fuller, D. S. Hill, M. S. Davis, 
William H. Pleasants, Peyton I. Brown, David Thomas, William 
Arendell, E. L. Stegall, Nathan B. Walker, Joel Thomas, and N. B. 
Massenburg. In 1860 William Barringer was presiding elder, and M. C. 
Thomas was preacher in charge. New names were Thomas K. Thomas 
(who deeded the Portis Goldmine to the Philadelphia Company after 
the Civil War), Joseph B. Litdejohn (of Ingleside, Confederate 
general), and John G. King. In 1861 Thomas W Guthrie was the 
preacher in charge. In 1863 George S. Baker's name first appears; he 
resigned as a steward, although he had not been previously listed as a 
steward. In 1864 N. E Reid was presiding elder, and the name of James 
S. French appears. R. S. Moran was preacher in charge in 1865, and 
visitors at the November 1 meeting were "Rev Dr. William Closs," Dr. 
E. Malone, and Capt. C. H. Thomas. 

In the post-Civil War era, in 1866 Jessie Cunninggim was preacher 
in charge, and Rev. T M. Jones and W H. Alderman of the College first 
appear. In 1867 L. L. Hendren is presiding elder, and Junius Ballard's 
name appears in 1868. Edwin Fuller became a steward in 1869. 
Beginning in 1870 Rev. W H. Bobbitt is presiding elder and O. J. Brent 
is preacher in charge. Hugh D. Egerton became a steward in 1871, and 
G. S. Baker reappeared as a steward in 1872. 

At the beginning of 1884, then, under the heading "Official Roll," 
the "Charge" was Louisburg Station; the "District" was Raleigh; the 
"Conference" was North Carolina; the Presiding Elder was the 
Reverend S. D. Adams, and the Preacher in Charge was the Reverend 
W S. Rone. Recording Secretary was George S. Baker, and R. R. 
Harris was Treasurer. The stewards were George S. Baker, Frank N. 
Egerton, E. C. Jones, J. E. Malone, W H. Pleasants, and E. L. Stegall. 
Trustees were A. Arrington, George S. Baker, B. T Ballard, P. J. Brown, 
Frank N. Egerton, B. B. Lewis, and W H. Pleasants. 

At the beginning of 1885, there were a few changes. Presiding 
Elder was the Reverend N. H. D. Wilson, and Frank N. Egerton was 
Superintendent of the Sunday School. R. R. Harris had become a 
steward. Hugh D. Egerton was added to the trustees and A. Arrington 
omitted. In January 1886 the preacher was Rev. A. McCullen, and L. P. 


Hicks became a steward. Arthur Arrington reappeared as a trustee. In 
1887 "Prof. J. M. Starke" became assistant superintendent of the 
Sunday school. John Metcalf Starke was principal of Franklin Academy 
in 1886-1887 (Willard, Echoes, p. 180). In 1888 the list of stewards 
added J. J. Person and the list of trustees added B. B. Massenburg. No 
new names appeared in 1889 except that of the Rev. J. B. Hurley, 
preacher in charge, and in 1890 the presiding elder is the Reverend W. 
S. Black, D. D. In 1891 the presiding elder is Dr. Jesse A. Cunninggim, 
"Uncle Jesse," Dr. W. H. Nicholson is superintendent of the Sunday 
school at Louisburg and R. R. Harris superintendent of that at Piney 
Grove. M. S. Davis, then living at Green Hill, was added to the 

New names added to these lists in 1896 were W H. Furgurson, M. 
K. Pleasants, R. Z. Egerton, N. A. Nelson, W H. Macon, and M. H. 
Aycocke. Presiding elder was E. A. Yates, and G. F Smith was preacher 
in charge. At the beginning of 1898 J. J. Barrow was added, and in 
1899 the Rev. J. T. Gibbs, D.D., was presiding elder, with G. E Smith 
still minister. 

These decades show a great deal of continuity from year to year; 
aside from arrivals and departures of College and academy personnel, 
the boards were essentially made up of people who had known and 
worked with one another for years. 

Edwin Wiley Fuller (1847-1876) . The poet and novelist Edwin 
Fuller was the son of Jones Fuller and Anne Thomas Fuller. He was 
thus the great-grandson of the matriarch Sarah Richmond Long Shine, 
and his grandmother wrote the impressive letter quoted earlier to Sarah 
Shine upon the death of Daniel Shine. Malone describes him, 
following contemporary records, as a man "short in stature" with 
"eagle eye" and "winsome manners." He attended the Franklin Male 
Academy, where he was the student of Matthew S. Davis. Entering the 
University of North Carolina as a freshman in the fall of 1864, he 
returned to Louisburg in 1866 to help his merchant father in his store 
(Malone). According to his mother's diary, hard times during the Civil 
War caused the suspension of his college education, a fact which 
seemed particularly to distress his mother, Anne Fuller. He resumed his 
education after the war, however, soon after his father resumed his 
buying trips to New York. He and his roommate and first cousin (his 
mother's brother's son), George Gillett Thomas of Wilmington, 
enrolled at the University of Virginia, where he received diplomas in 
English literature and moral philosophy at Charlottesville in 1868 

His first published works, according to Malone, were the poems 
"The Village on the Tar" and "Requiescam," published in the University 


Magazine in Chapel Hill. In 1868 he published several poems and a 
short story in the University of Virginia Magazine. 

When he left Charlottesville in 1868, he returned to Louisburg, 
this time to help in the store because of his father's failing health. Jones 
Fuller died 17 July 1870, and Edwin inherited and took charge of the 
family business (Malone). According to his mother's diary, Edwin 
nursed his father in his illness and was, indeed, the responsible person 
in the family's crises. Jones Fuller appears to have died virtually in his 
son's arms. During these years, according to his correspondence 
(Malone), he considered studying law or entering the ministry; his 
father's failing health prevented his doing either. 

In Louisburg Edwin Fuller served the church first as a steward 
(1869), then Sunday-school superintendent and then as treasurer 
(1875-1876). A treasurer's book survives for the years 1875-1876 in 
which his neat and precise handwriting predominates. In it is a folded 
statement to the "M. E. Church" for goods bought of "E. W Fuller, 
Dealer in Drygoods, Groceries, Farmer's Supplies, Etc." in 1874 and 
1875 (stove polish, nails, oil, lamp chimneys, etc.). 

His years at home were years of literary productivitity, in spite of 
time given to the Church and the store. By January 1871, Malone 
wrote, he had completed the manuscript of his first book, an expanded 
version of The Angel in the Cloud. It was published in the summer of 
1871 by E. J. Hale 8c Son of New York City, formerly located in North 
Carolina. It was praised, according to Malone, in the New York Times 
and the St. Louis Advocate as well as in lesser serial publications, and it 
was reprinted by the publisher in 1872, 1878, and 1881 and by the 
family in 1907. Malone cites Poe, Tennyson, and Dickens as Fuller's 
favorite writers. Angel , however, is a learned perusal of the human 
condition somewhat in the style of Pope's "Essay on Man," including 
citations of the ideas of numerous philosophers in the author's search 
for reality. Its exploration of the Self is reflective of Romanticism, while 
its rhetoric reveals familiarity with the Victorian poets. 

Fuller was interested not only in church affairs but also, Malone 
wrote, in local politics. He "believed in participating. He was elected, 
first, a town commissioner, next, mayor of Louisburg, and, finally, a 
Franklin County commissioner." 

In 1871 Edwin Fuller married Mary Elisabeth Malone, daughter of 
Dr. Ellis Malone of Louisburg and granddaughter of Charles A. Hill, 
legislator, schoolmaster, and preacher as well as nephew of Green Hill. 
In her diary entry for 6 October 1870, a few months after the death of 
Jones Fuller, his mother wrote a line stating that she feared the young 
lady he has chosen was not the right bride for him. She later sought to 
erase this line, but obscured it only partially, as with many of her 
deletions. The marriage took place 26 September 1871. "Edwin was 


married this morning at 7 o'clock at the Church." The Reverend O. J. 
Brent performed the ceremony; friends had decorated the church the 
night before with flowers and evergreens; four couples were their 
attendants. The bridal couple took the train north. Perhaps the train 
schedule explained the choice of an early morning hour for the 
ceremony. They returned to Louisburg to live in the parental home, 
with Anne Fuller and her other child, Anna Richmond Fuller, who 
would later marry Mary Elisabeth Malone Fuller's brother Dr. James 
Ellis Malone in 1878 (Malone). 

In 1873 Edwin Fuller published a novel, Sea-Gift^ again with Hale 
publishers. The novel is obliquely informative regarding local 
Methodist history. Malone describes it "as in some respects 
autobiographical"; this is true within limits. Fuller knew Wilmington 
because his Thomas relatives lived there; the work probably reflects 
some of his Chapel Hill experiences; but John Smith's father was 
well-to-do, the family social status included vacations at Saratoga and 
New Port, and John Smith fought in the Civil War. And the Cuban 
bride, the gift of the sea in a shipwreck, was entirely fictional. 

As is apparent in the account of the rural church service, the novel is 
of value as social history, as R. H. Whitaker's memoirs are valuable for 
descriptions of churches and characterizations of people. And the 
DeVare episode in Chapel Hill was borrowed from the past and 
influenced the future. 

When John Smith arrived at the University, he was threateningly 
hazed as a freshman and humiliated before a lady for whom he had 
fallen. His vindicator is Raymond DeVare (suggestive of Poe's Guy 
DeVere, in "Lenore," in the popular fiction of the day used to suggest 
"truth"), a friend of the lady, who reproves the hazers and is challenged 
to a duel by one of them, a sophomore suggestively named, not 
atypically in the novel, Brazon. (The villain's name is Paning.) John 
Smith had not believed that the duel would take place, but he serves as 
DeVare's second. DeVare is killed, and Smith, returning to Wilmington 
with his body, is devastated. 

Fuller borrowed the duel, as had earlier UNC students, from the 
legend of Peter Dromgoole, a student at the University in 1833. 
According to the legend, Peter had been killed in a duel fought because 
of a young lady and was buried under a rock on a certain high point of 
land overlooking wooded countryside northeast of Chapel Hill. 
Fuller's novel helped to perpetuate this legend, and in 1889 the Order 
of Gimghoul was formed and subsequendy Gimghoul Casde was built 
on the spot, off Country Club Drive. In fact, Peter Dromgoole flunked 
out of school and disappeared from Chapel Hill and from his family He 
was sighted later in Wilmington and was reported to have died in 


The pertinence of the story to the history of the Louisburg 
Methodist Church, apart from Sea-Gift, is two-fold. Peter Dromgoole 
was the grandson of that Edward Dromgoole of the North Carolina 
circuit who preached from time to time in Louisburg in the 1780s. 
Edward Dromgoole settled in Brunswick County, Virginia, and his son 
Edward, the father of Peter, for a time held land in Halifax County, 
North Carolina. Further, Peter Dromgoole was sent to Louisburg in 
1832 to the Franklin Academy to be prepared for the University by the 
then-headmaster John Bobbitt. Peter roomed in the home of Mr. 
Patterson, in the block of Main Street to which the Methodist Church 
moved in 1850. The Order of Gimghoul transmogrified his name for 
their organization and for their castle but called the rock under which 
he is supposedly buried "Dromgoole's Rock." The name Dromgoole 
appears in the Gimghoul initiation ritual. (Shaffer; Bruce Cotten 

Malone wrote that Edwin and Mary had two children, Ethel Stuart, 
who died in 1874 at the age of sixteen months, and a second daughter, 
Edwin Sumner, who was born five weeks before her father's death of 
consumption on 22 April 1876 and who survived to marry Asa Parham 
of Henderson. A remarkable account of Fuller's death occurs in his 
mother's journal. Fuller had stated that he did not believe he was dying; 
the doctor assured him that he was. According to Malone, "he died 
after dramatically dictating in his last moments a poem for the Ladies 
Memorial Association of Wilmington, which was sung at Confederate 
memorial services at Oakdale Cemetery by a choir of two thousand 
persons on 10 May 1876." 

In 1897 the Franklin Times celebrated the twentieth anniversary of 
the editorship of James Adolphus Thomas, the twenty-seventh 
anniversary of the founding of the newspaper by W H. Pleasants. 
Concerning those earliest days, the editor wrote, "But Joe Davis and 
Edwin Fuller were with us then!" In the good old days we had such 
notables as Judge Joseph Davis and writer Edwin Fuller. In the 1890s 
the Franklin Times published accounts of the meetings of the Edwin 
Fuller Club, a reading club made up of both men and women. Papers 
read concerned, for example, Dickens's Hard Times and "Ancient and 
Modern Chivalry." Fuller's brother-in-law, Dr. James E. Malone, was 
active in the club and, in fact, himself published a novel serially in the 
Franklin Times, under the title of Morton Hendricks, A Story for Boys. 

Matthew S. Davis. Born in the Inez community of Warren County 
NC in 1830, Davis was sent to Franklin Academy in the 1840's. His 
subsequent years were spent in Chapel Hill and in Franklin County, as 
previously recounted. His service to both the church and the College 
seems to have been perpetual, and he received abundant recognition for 


both. For example, on 30 April 1897 the Franklin Times reprinted from 
the Orphan's Friend a report of a stay in Louisburg by an unnamed man 
who visited the Masonic Lodge and may have been traveling for 
Oxford Orphanage. He was met at the depot by Baker, Barrow, and 
Meadows, and was a guest in the home of "Bro. M. S. Davis, whose 

good wife is our kinswoman Bro. Davis has charge of the 

Louisburg Female College. He is an old hand at the business — has been 
a school man for many years." 

Matthew Davis died "at noon on Feb. 26, 1906," as Willard put it 
(Echoes, p. 106). His obituaries were fullsome, as in life his "paternal 
and impressive style" frequentiy aroused comment (Echoes, 112, 114). 
He was succeeded by his daughter Mary Davis (Mrs. Ivey) Allen as 
president. In Willard's judgment, the two Davis administrations 
provided both a continuity the College had not previously known and 
an openness to growth and expansion which constituted a change from 
its previous condition. Certainly, a twenty-one year period of stability 
characterized by the respect of and a sense of unity with the community 
was new to Louisburg Female College. Another source of the 
continuity and change experienced during these years was clearly the 
resolution of the question of ownership; in 1907 Benjamin N. Duke, 
upon the death of his father Washington Duke, presented the College 
property to the North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church. 

George Str other Baker (1837-1906). For twenty- five years 
superintendent of the Sunday school, Baker was also at one time 
treasurer and over a long period a steward (Howard). He was born on 
Elm Street near the intersection of Nash and Elm, the hill called 
"Happy Hill," diagonally across Elm from the Methodist church of 
1830-ca. 1840. His parents were Charlotte Temple Strother and 
Burrell P. Baker. E. H. Davis describes him thus: "He was to the manor 
born, being on both his fathers' and mother's side a Franklin, even a 
Louisburg, product. Bakers and Strothers in Louisburg date back to 
the founding of the town, when Patewell Milner sold his hundred acres 
to the first Board of Trustees or city fathers, for it was soon after that 
epochal event that Burwell Baker built and established his home on 
South Elm Street in Louisburg near its junction with West Nash Street, 
and William Henry Strother established his on the West side of North 
Main Street in the same town. These were both ancestors of Editor 
Baker" (Davis, p. 165). 

According to Howard, Baker first worked for a newspaper in 
Raleigh, where he married Emma Hall. They moved to Louisburg and 
bought and remodeled "Dr. Noble's house" at the west end of Noble 
Street, their home thenceforth. He became editor of the local 
newspaper begun by W H. Pleasants, according to Howard, and 


subsequently published its immediate successor, the Franklin Courier 
(Davis, p. 164). In 1872 Baker was business manager of the Courier 
and T. T. Mitchell was editor. In 1875 the two proprietors sold the 
Courier to James Adolphus Thomas and Baker's brother-in-law A. M. 
Hall (Davis, p. 165). The paper soon became the Franklin Times. 

In addition to his perpetual efforts on behalf of the church, Baker 
served as a magistrate and was one of the first insurance agents in the 
county (Howard). According to a Franklin Times notice on 6 May 
1903 he was at that time one of three tax assessors for Louisburg, then 
meeting daily at the courthouse ("The Times advises every person who 
does not feel like paying DOUBLE taxes to go to see them during the 
month of June"). The Times lists him as a "justice" on 4 May 1894. Of 
his two children, Everard Hall Baker lived in Raleigh and George 
Spencer Baker, who married Blanche Egerton (daughter of Frank 
Egerton of Louisburg), lived in Goldsboro. Blanche Baker returned to 
Louisburg after her husband's death; she was the author of several 
novels (Davis, p. 193), and her last book was Mrs. G. LJoe^ an account 
of soldiers' wives in World War II. 

G. S. Baker was the great uncle of Margaret Hicks (Mrs. Cary) 
Howard, church historian in the mid-20th century. 

W H. Pleasants. A trustee of the church during the late decades of 
the century, W H. Pleasants was included in Whitaker's Reminiscenses . 
Whitaker described him as "one of Franklin county's best citizens, ... a 
Raleigh boy" who had risen to "spheres of usefulness and wealth," 
although he began as a poor boy. "He began his career as a printer, 
serving the first year of his printer life with Rev. Burwell Temple, in the 
Primitive Baptist office, two years in the Biblical Recorder office, with 
Rev. T T Meredith, and two years in the office of the North Carolina 
Star^ Rev. Thos. J. Lemay, editor. He had good training; three 
preachers: one a Calvinist, one a Missionary Baptist, and one a 
Methodist, and, as he finally setded down in the Methodist community, 
it must be inferred he did so because his last instructor, who was a 
Methodist, saw that he was worth catching and keeping, and I think he 
made no mistake." In 1854, Whitaker continued, "he began the 
publication of a paper in Louisburg, soon after he finished his five years 
of apprenticeship in Raleigh. This was his first venture. . . ." Pleasants 
became prosperous in Louisburg and raised a family. "For fifteen years 
he was the Mayor of Louisburg, and I think he told me he had been a 
steward of the Methodist church thirty-five years, as well as a trustee. In 
politics he has been and is a Democrat, and when I go to his house in 
the summer time I generally find him on the piazza, in his big rocking 
chair, reading the News and Observer" (p. 288-299). 


Pleasants married Leia Cornelle, and the couple had a daughter, 
Josephine, born in 1855, who died in 1877 and is memorialized in one 
of the stained-glass windows of the church. In view of Josephine's 
being a half-sister of Julia Pleasants Scott, an aunt of Mildred Scott 
(Mrs. Edward) Griffin, W H. Pleasants must have married twice 
(Howard notes). 

On 4 May 1894 the Times reported that Pleasants was building a 
tobacco warehouse in Louisburg on the site of the old cotton gin. 

Anne Thomas Fuller. Biographical information on Anne Long 
Thomas Fuller's husband Jones Fuller and her son Edwin has already 
been presented, and her diary contributed significandy to knowledge of 
the Louisburg church in the Civil War. Annie Fuller took the war quite 
hard. She seems in her diary unreconciled to her son's inability, for 
financial reasons as well by reason of its closing during the war, to 
return to Chapel Hill late in the war. Not having money to give to the 
Bible Society distressed her. She could not find good servants after the 
war. As she presents herself in the diary, she seems to complain of an 
unkind personal fate, even when she reassures her husband that 
everyone else is in similar circumstances. The doctors tell him that his 
heart is diseased; he insists that his problem is the state of the country 
and his financial cares. In late summer, 1870, she devotes three pages of 
the diary to the death of Jones Fuller, who seems to have been cared for 
chiefly by Edwin. On 31 December 1870 she wrote, "I know it is 
important to retrench the expenses of my family, but where to begin I 
know not." She wrote that she had never had to depend on herself 
before. In 1872 she blamed herself; "I feel conscious of failure in almost 
everything. My want of patience and gentleness is prominent among 
my faults. ..." "I have been getting up every morning making my fire . . 
.," making the coffee, attending the table, superintending the cooking, 
sweeping and cleaning. She had in some degree lowered her scale of 
living, a seemingly impossible thing even for the relief of her sick 
husband, but her sense of the wrongness of her having to make the 
adaptation never left her. 

In the difficult 1880s, her grandchild, Ethel, and her beloved 
Edwin dead, she tried to take a broader view. She had broken up 
housekeeping, boarded at the College for a short time, and eventually 
married a cousin, Dr. William R. King, son of Joel King. She wrote in 
1885 that the town "has fallen very low in the scale of business and 
enterprise, since the war. All her people are become poor, and in 
proportion as they have lost their means, their energies have become 
deadened. Our schools utterly failed; our merchants were discouraged 
and our young men leaving for distant parts where the prospects and 
promises of living were brighter. Our women alone were brave and 


cheerful, holding up the hands of their husbands and brothers; turning 
their own delicate hands, that had never known even the semblance of 
work before, to household duties and even to drudgery, many of them 
have learned to cook and to wash and iron." It is not clear that her own 
delicate hands had learned those difficult skills. But now things were 
improving: the town would have two handsome warehouses, some 
brick stores, and a depot. 

"A year ago today [6 March 1889] I was left a widow; lonely and 
unprovided for." She had moved back into her home, "bringing with 
me this time children, grandchildren, sisters and cousins, a large 
family." Her daughter and son-in-law are the "heads." The Franklin 
Times for 11 January 1889 reported that Dr. J. E. Malone, her 
son-in-law, had just occupied the Fuller place. But, Anne Long Fuller 
continued, "Anxiety and care have accompanied us." And probably 
persisted until her death. 

The Fullers' activity in the church was perpetual and often reported 
in the diary, as was true in the case of that sermon of Mr. Moran's that 
appeared to his congregation to show too-early reconciliation to the 
defeat. Her reports are not usually so revealing of the dynamics of 
pastor-congregation relations, as, for example, on 29 November 1872, 
"This is the closing Sabbath of Mr. [F L.] Reid's ministry this year. He 
goes to Conference next Tuesday 5 ' with the sincere hope and 
expectation of his flock that he will be returned to them. "We like him 
and his wife." She extends the entry to a comment on the times: Mr. 
Reid had observed that no one had died or even been seriously ill 
during the past year. True, but, she observed, "we are being tried. The 
scarcity of provisions is alarmingly prevalent, as all will testify. Even 
those who are able to buy can't, for they [the provisions] are not in the 
country. Every energy of the farmer is put forth in making cotton, with 
the plea and expectation that that will be money to them and they can 
import all that is necessary, to sustain man and beast, and everything 
else is neglected. Litde or no attention paid to stock and poultry, and it 
is many times with the greatest difficulty we can supply our tables." 
One wonders about vegetable gardens, about chickens in the backyard. 

In the same year, on December 18, "Went to Church today with the 
hope and prayer I might hear something to comfort my heart, heard a 
good sermon from a young minister Rev. W C. Norman. I lost a good 
deal of it, as I always do nowadays. My deafness sometimes makes me 
feel that it is useless for me to go to Church." F L. Reid had been 
returned, and W C. Norman was a visitor who would be assigned to 
Louisburg in 1880. On 7 February 1775 she attended church in "bitter 
cold weather" and heard a good sermon by our pastor," who is still F L. 
Reid, and "partook of the Sacrament. Bishop Lyman conducted 


services in the Episcopal Church — confirmed several; one of them a 
member of the Methodist church, Delia King." 

Again, writing in 1885, she recounts the death of Edwin in 1876, 
revealing more about the period of ministerial presidencies at 
Louisburg College than about the Church. Following Edwin's death 
on 22 April, his wife Mary and baby Sumner went to live with her 
father, Dr. Ellis Malone; that left Annie Fuller, her daughter Rich, and 
her sister Mary in the home; "by the advice of friends I broke up 
housekeeping and went to the College to board. My dear Annie [Rich], 
who had known naught but ease and affluence, had to support herself 
by teaching music. Rev. Mr. Reid, our pastor, was President, and a tried 
and trusty friend to us. Mr. R. R. Harris and his Mother kept the 
boarding department. We had comfortable rooms and met with much 
kindness, but at the end of three months, we left and went to Cousin 
Martha Malone's, and boarded the balance of the year." 

Again, in 1879 "Mr. Reid's kindness and his influence obtained a 
situation in 'Central Institute'" for her daughter-in-law Mary Malone 
Fuller, who previously "did writing for the Legislature, and was well 
paid for it" but had had to leave little Sumner at home. 

A story in the Oxford NC Public Ledger for 24 April 1928 reveals a 
side of Annie Thomas Fuller King to which in her diary she gives no 
attention. The Rev. G. C. Shaw wrote, "My father belonged to the 
Shaws, who were neighbors of the Fullers. In fact, his Mistress was the 
daughter of my mother's Mistress. . . . My father was coachman for the 
Shaws, and my mother seamstress for the Fullers." The Fullers 
themselves, he wrote, educated their slaves. "They were taught by Mrs. 
Ann Fuller, not only encouraged to study their books, but made to do 
so," with the result that upon the establishment of the Freedman's 
Bureau, both his sisters became teachers. He himself, as he wrote, was 
principal of a school in Oxford. 

WH. Furgurson. Willie Holt Furgurson (1830-1879) and his wife 
Sallie Green Baker Furgurson (1834-1888) came to Louisburg from 
Southampton County, Virginia. Furgurson was at times steward, 
trustee, and committee member of the Church. Historian Margaret 
Howard gives us this genealogy of her family in Louisburg: In 1885 
the Furgurson's daughter Maggie (1861-1939) married L. P. Hicks 
(1856-1933), who came to Louisburg from Warren County. The 
Hickses had three children. Their son Fred (d. 1946) married Mary 
Alfred Cooper, and the couple had two children, Sarah and Alfred 
Cooper Hicks. The Hicks's daughter Maude (d. 1976) married in 1913 
James Allison Hodges, and the two had two sons, Alfred and John 
Hicks Hodges, father of Ray Hodges, a lifelong member of the 
congregation. The third child of L. P. and Maggie Hicks was Margaret 


Holt Hicks, who in 1917 married Cary Mills Howard (d. 1955). Their 
daughter Mildred married a Glass of Virginia and lived in that state 
until her death in the 1990s; their daughter Virginia married Captain 
Nathan Cole, Jr. a retired Naval officer, who in the 1970s compiled an 
authoritative compendium of the deeds and maps pertaining to the 
Church's property at Main and Noble. Mrs. Margaret Hicks Howard 
was Louisburg church historian until her death. 

Edward Hill Davis (1860-1953). E. H. Davis has been so frequently 
a source for this history that one wishes he had written a sketch of his 
own life. The oldest son of Matthew and Louisa Hill Davis, he 
attended the Methodist Church in Louisburg until he left for Trinity 
College. He was a student at Franklin Academy, studying under his 
father; he remembered the occupation of the Academy grove during 
the Civil War and the loss of the black members of the church in 1866, 
and in his book Historical Sketches of Franklin County (1948) he 
supplied our best and in many cases our only accounts and 
characterizations of such nineteenth-century notables as Dr. Closs, 
Parson Arendall, Abby House, Mary Penn, the Massenburgs, etc. 

At Trinity College Davis studied law, but in 1882 he was 
headmaster, with James A. White, of the Franklin Academy. He set up a 
law office in Wilson, NC, in 1883, and in 1884 returned to Louisburg 
to practice at home. His parents were at this time living on the Egerton 
Place outside Louisburg. E. H. Davis's law career was short lived, 
however; in 1886 he became a member of the North Carolina 
Methodist Conference. On 21 December 1888, the editor of the 
Franklin Times reported, under the heading "Rev. E. H. Davis," as 
follows: "We had the pleasure this week of meeting this gentleman who 
has a large number of friends in this section. He has been returned by 
Conference to High Point, a station which he has filled as pastor for the 
past year, and we are glad to know that he is doing good work in that 
field." He was appointed to the church at Littleton in December 1896 
(Times, 18 Dec). At the College commencement of 1897 he presented 
the diplomas. In the spring of 1906 E. H. Davis served on the board of 
directors formed to effect a change of management in the college after 
the death of M. S. Davis. 

According to family tradition, Edward Hill Davis fulfilled his sense 
of mission by requesting assignment to stations such as mill towns 
(e.g., Franklinton) where he felt the need of the people was greatest. 
His choice did not advance his standing in the field or his career. 

When Davis retired in 1931 he bought the Green Hill house near 
Louisburg from his sister Mabel, made improvements, and lived out 
his days there with his daughter Alberta, who taught in the public 
school, having previously taught in High Point. He devoted himself to 


writing columns for the Franklin Times which he collected for a book 
published in 1948. Although these are sketches of Franklin County 
history rather than an effort at a systematic chronological account (such 
as Thilbert H. Pearce's valuable historical record), the significance of 
the volume to local history is incalculable. For many of the traditional 
episodes, careful research augments recollection. 

Mary Davis Allen (3 Nov. 1862- 12 August 1962) . The third child and 
second daughter of Matthew S. Davis, Mary Madeleine Davis grew up 
on North Main Street in Louisburg. Her parents lived in a small house 
on a corner of the grove around the home of her grandfather, Daniel 
Shine Hill. Later she remembered that one morning as a tot she visited 
some of the Federal troops camped in the grove, ate breakfast with 
them, and brought home a piece of smelly dried fish. 

She attended Louisburg Female College. In the 1904 Collegian, 
alumnae of Louisburg Female College were asked to write on the 
subject of their ambitions as a school girl and how far they had been 
realized. Mary Davis Allen described her ambition as having a grand 
commencement in a country school which she had taught all by herself. 
She reported to the Collegian that she had realized this ambition when 
she was able to mail to her former classmates the following 
announcement: "CLOSING EXERCISE of The Areola Academy, Miss 
Mary M. Davis, Teacher, May 18th, 1883. Address delivered by Rev L. 
J. Holden. Programme, . . .etc." Following her teaching experience at 
Areola in Warren County, where she became the cherished teacher of a 
number of young Davis cousins as well as other area children, Mary 
Davis on 11 January 1889 was teaching at Littleton Female College, 
according to the Franklin Times, which reported on that date that she 
had spent the holidays with her people "near Louisburg," i.e., either 
the Egerton Place or Green Hill. 

She next returned to Louisburg College to teach in the presidency 
of S. D. Bagley (1889-1894). She remained through the presidency of 
J. A. Green and, as previously reported, was recommended by Rev. G. 
F. Smith to Washington Duke to be dean of the College with her father 
a president. In 1899 she married Ivey Allen, from Warren County, who 
worked first as an accountant for a firm in Louisburg before becoming 
secretary and treasurer of Louisburg College. She became president of 
the College by recommendation of the committee appointed upon the 
death of Matthew Davis in February 1906. She resigned as president in 
1917 and again became dean under President F. S. Love. In 1920 she 
and her husband Ivey Allen, who had for several years been treasurer of 
Thomasville Orphanage, moved to Oxford NC where Ivey Allen 
became treasurer of Oxford Orphanage. Mary Allen taught for some 
years at the orphanage school. Upon her husband's retirement in 1946 


they moved to Warrenton NC to live in an enclave of Davis and Allen 
relatives on Bragg Street. 

KateBeckwith. Mrs. Samuel T. Beckwith was the widow of a lawyer 
in Wilmington NC. She was an outstanding teacher at Louisburg 
Female College from 1899 till 1905, her subjects being "Higher 
English, French, Mental and Moral Science," according to the back 
cover of the Collegian for 1903. In addition to teaching Sunday school 
at the Louisburg Methodist church, she sponsored and directed 
College dramatic presentations in the opera house downtown. In 1905 
she became dean of Columbia College in Columbia SC. She later 
taught at East Carolina Teacher's College in Greenville NC. The 
Franklin Times listed her as one of the out-of-town mourners at the 
funeral of Matthew Davis 28 February, 1906. 

May Jones. Oleona May Jones was a member of the Jones family of 
Franklin County of which Colonel Jordan Jones was the 
late- 19th-century owner of the complex of mills at Laurel. She first 
attended Louisburg Female College and was listed as a member of a 
Sunday-school class at the Methodist church in 1899. She graduated in 
the class of 1900, and her recitation at commencement was the class 
prophecy She then attended Vanderbilt University. She returned to 
Louisburg to teach kindergarten and elocution and served as an 
associate editor of the 1903 Collegian. Simultaneously she taught a 
Sunday-school class at the Louisburg Methodist church and became a 
member of the recentiy organized United Daughters of the 
Confederacy, Joseph J. Davis Chapter, in which church members Julia 
(Mrs. J. S.) Barrow and Anna Fuller (Mrs. J. E.) Malone were leaders. 
Working with young people was her strong suite, and she cooperated 
with Kate Beckwith in sponsoring student dramatic productions. After 
Kate Beckwith's departure she managed the production of "Little Red 
Riding Hood" at the opera house {Times, 12 April 1907). She became 
legendary in Louisburg for her vigor and unconventionality (it was 
told of her that in her travels she once visited a nudist camp, in the spirit 
of adventure, and reported that, for looks, nude women had it all over 
nude men). 

During her years as a teacher at Louisburg College, May Jones 
began publishing. The Franklin Times reported 20 March 1908 that she 
had recently published two stories in the Progressive Teacher of 
Nashville TN "for which she realized quite a nice litde sum." The April 
number of that publication contained another "very attractive story by 
Miss Jones. We are jusdy proud of her success." She continued to 
publish, mostly exemplary tales for the young people with whom she 
enjoyed working. 


She seems to have had a sabbatical from the College during the fall 
semester of 1908. The Times reported that she had taken courses in 
elecution at Ward's Conservatory in Nashville TN, "has returned home, 
and will resume teaching in the College, with the opening of the spring 
session" (1 January 1909). That spring she entertained the Franklinton 
Graded School for more than a half hour (Times, 7 April 1909); they 
were "highly entertained" and "wished Miss Jones could come every 

According to the Times (7 January 1910), May Jones left the 
College at the beginning of 1907 to receive training in Baltimore for 
assignment to a position in the YWCA. She was an "elecutionist" who 
wanted to use her ability in "the foreign field." She had answered the 
"call of the Great Teacher, c Go Ye into all the World. . . ."' At some point 
she took a position at Southern Seminary in Danville VA and in 1915 
became secretary of the YWCA in Birmingham. She worked 
subsequently for the national YWCA at their headquarters in Silver Bay 
NY; did social service work for Schoolfield Cotton Mills in Danville 
VA, and, lasdy, directed social-service work and the "Fresh Air Farm" 
for the Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. 

May Jones retired in 1942. She was the author of several books. 
(The source for most of her post-Louisburg career was an undated 
obituary from an unnamed Birmingham newspaper. The clipping was 
kindly contributed by Louise Egerton Passmore of Louisburg.) 

Mabel Irwin Davis (1874-1961) . The turn-of-the-century era of the 
closeness of town, college, and church demands an account of yet 
another child of Matthew Davis. Mabel Davis was in charge of the 
"Academic School" (students of elementary-school and high-school 
age; the old Female Academy) at Louisburg Female College in the 
administrations of her father and her sister Mary Davis Allen. She 
taught Sunday-school classes at the Louisburg Methodist Church. 
With her colleague Kate Beckwith she was a founding member of the 
first book club in town, which persists in the 1990s. Mabel Davis wrote 
a play for the college students, a copy of which survives. She also wrote 
the words to the Louisburg College Alma Mater. 

When Mary Davis Allen moved to Oxford in 1920, Mabel took up 
residence with her sister Florence Davis (Mrs. Eugene S.) Allen, in 
Warrenton. She became in the 1920s librarian of the Warren County 
Public Library and retained the post until her retirement in the 1950s. 
Mabel Davis has the distinction of being memorialized, by name and 
role, in Reynolds Prices's novel Kate Vaiden, where she is described as 
having eyes "bright as icepicks." She suggests a book, Defoe's Moll 
Flanders, for Kate to read; twenty years later Kate, crediting her with 


virtual omniscience, wonders if she meant the selection as "consolation 
or a warning" concerning Kate's way of life. 

For the Louisburg Methodist Church, the 19th century seems to 
come to its end in the first decade of the 20th. The editor of the 
Franklin Times, James Adolphus "Dolly" Thomas, long attentive to and 
communicative regarding Church affairs, was ill in a sanitarium during 
part of 1909, and his death followed soon thereafter. The "Church 
Register" report in the upper right-hand corner of an inner page of the 
paper was suspended. Beginning as a Methodist report, it had become 
the register for the standard scheduled activities of churches of four 
denominations. The Dolly Thomas era has passed. The ties between 
college and church are official in the Methodist Conference and well 
established locally. A new generation of local businessmen is rising to 
become the dominant element of the society. 


"Answers to the Query, 'What was Your Ambition as a School Girl and How Far 
Has it Been Realized?'" The Collegian (Louisburg College), II: 1 (April 1904), p. 72. 

Brooks, Pauline Hill. "Extracts from a School Girl's Journal During the Sixties," 
The Collegian, I: 2 (Midsummer 1903), pp. 59-70. 

Cotten, Bruce. Collection. Southern Historical Collection Manuscript 
Department, Wilson Library of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Davis, E. H. Historical Sketches of Franklin County. Raleigh NC: Privately printed, 

Everett, Mrs. J. LeGrand. Seven Times Seven: A History of the Seven Sabbaths of Tears 
in the North Carolina Conference Woman } s Missionary Society, Dec. 1, 1878-Dec. 31, 
1928. Greensboro NC: The Piedmont Press, 1929. 

Fuller, Annie Thomas. Diary, 1856-1872. C. W. Robbins Library, Louisburg 
College. Typescript. 

. Diary, 1872-1890. Typescript generously lent by the owner, Myrtle 

Mae (Mrs. John) King of Louisburg, but for whose mention of it in conversation I 
would not have known of its existence. 

Fuller, Edwin Wiley. Sea-Gift, A Novel. New York: E. J. Hale & Son, 1873. 

. The Angel in the Cloud. Fourth Edition. New York: E. J. Hale & Son, 

1881. Gift of Elizabeth Allen. 

Howard, Margaret Hicks (Mrs. Cary M.). Historical papers containing notes on 
G. S. Baker as well as a summary of information on the stained-glass windows. 

Jones, Linda Perry. "The United Daughters of the Confederacy." The Franklin 
Times 100th Anniversary Issue. Louisburg NC, 30 July 1970, pp. 132-133. 


Malone, E. T. "Fuller, Edwin Wiley." In William S. Powell, ed. North Carolina 
Biography. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987. 

Quarterly Conference Records, Louisburg Station. 1857-1872; 1884-1887; 
1896-1899, 1903-1907. 

Russell, Miriam L. History of Louisburg College. Unpublished thesis for the degree 
of Master of Education, Appalachian State University, 1959. 

Shaffer, Charles, of the Board of the Order of Gimghoul, UNC, Chapel Hill. Mr. 
Shaffer kindly provided information concerning the Order and the role of Peter 

Shaw, G. C. "Interesting Sketch by Rev. G. C. Shaw," Oxford [NC] Public Ledger, 
24 April 1928. Gift of Elizabeth Allen. 

Smith, Stanley, The Rev. "Stan's Script." Newsletter of the Louisburg United 
Methodist Church, 28 January 1981. 

Whitaker, R. H. Whitaker's Reminiscenses: Incidents and Anecdotes . Raleigh NC: 
Edwards and Broughton, 1905. Privately printed. 

Willard, George-Anne. "Evolution of the Methodist Link with Louisburg 
College," The United Methodist Mission in Higher Education. Louisburg NC: Louisburg 
College, 1989. 

Willard, George-Anne. Louisburg College Echoes. Louisburg NC: Louisburg 
College, 1988. 

W. J. T. "Louisburg of Long Ago," Franklin Times, Louisburg NC, 4 August 


Chapter 5 

The Twentieth Century: The First Four 


The Ministers and the Numbers. The Church and the College. Education of 
the Young: Sunday School at the College. A New Sunday-school Building. The 
Church Library. Children's Church. The Epworth League and the Youth Culture 
of the 1920s. Activities of the Congregation: The Missionary Society. Fund 
Raisers. Unbecoming Conduct. Influenza. Official Roll, 1903-1938. Revivals. 
Adult Sunday School. Church Music. Committees and Training Groups. Notable 
Members of the Congregation. The Depression and the Business Milieu. 

In church records there is scant mention of the changed world in 
which the church building dedicated in 1904 would serve through the 
century to come. In Quarterly Conference Records, World War I was 
only obliquely referred to in a sum spent for "flowers for soldiers," and 
that was well after the war. The pandemic of influenza drew more 
extensive comment in 1919. The changed youth culture of the 1920s, 
however, prompted intense efforts on behalf of the Epworth League. 
The depression was acknowledged in all its seriousness in 1932. And in 
the summer of 1935 the large number of cases of infantile paralysis 
caused the closing of the primary and junior departments of the Sunday 
school. Meanwhile, technologically the world was being steadily 
reshaped. Telephones were installed in offices and homes (M. S. Davis's 
office, opened in 1905, received Louisburg's telephone "Number 5"). 
Regulations concerning headlights, speed, etc., of automobiles were 
passed by the town commissioners in 1910 {Times 9 September). 

The effects of such changes on the lives of the congregation can 
sometimes be inferred from the customary functions of the Church. 
Such a connection was made for us in the records for 1866 by the 
statement that Sunday school had been suspended because of the 
presence of Federal troops in Louisburg. However, only Anne Fuller's 
diary revealed Minister Moran's seemingly too-ready reconciliation to 
the surrender and the adverse reaction of the congregation. For the first 
third of the 20th century, we have no diaries but only incomplete 
Church records and newspaper reports. Nevertheless, a pattern will 


Until Franklin Times editor James Adolphus Thomas was "called 
from our midst" on 24 August 1909 (Times), the image of the church in 
print for all to read — the image that comes down to us — was being 
created by one of its own trustees. A sense of unity of church and 
community was certain to result. Further, a Methodist college being led 
by Methodists who were also active on the official boards augmented 
the sense of oneness. 

Great cultural changes were, indeed, in the offing. According to W 
J. Cash, the plantation social order persisted in some degree in the 
South until well into the 20th century (Book 3, ch. 1). Certainly the 
families who had belonged to that order were a continued presence in 
the Louisburg Methodist Church. A new basis for social position 
would succeed in the 1920s, however, with the predominance of 
Babbittry in business and money as more important than family as an 
indicator of social status. The town merchants of the post-Civil War era 
were themselves of the old order, Fuller, Egerton, and Hicks, for 
example. However, the presence of a new order would soon appear in 
the life of the church as well as the college. 

The Ministers and the Numbers 

The new church dedicated in 1904 was undertaken when G. F 
Smith was minister for the first time (1895-1899). He was succeeded 
by M. T Plyler, 1899-1903; L. S. Massey succeeded Plyler, 1903-1907; 
and F. A. Bishop reigned from 1907 through 1909. Under R. W Bailey 
(1909-1912) a new Sunday-school building was begun, completed 
when A. D. Wilcox was minister from 1912 till 1916. At that time the 
Church Directory appearing in the Franklin Times listed not only the 
Methodist services but those of the Baptists (Mr. Mashburn) and 
Episcopalians (Mr. London; first, third, and fourth Sundays); there 
were Presbyterian services on the fourth Sunday in each month. 

The Times took note of M. T Plyler's marriage, which occurred 
while he served in Louisburg, to Miss "E. D. Smith of Gates ville" in 
June 1900. The paper also reported on 6 January 1905 that Mr. Massey 
had been "pounded." 

On 29 November 1907 it observed that the "Rev. L. S. Massey, 
who has so ably filled the pastorate of the Methodist church for the past 
four years, will preach his last sermon before going to Conference next 
Sunday. According to the law of the church he will be sent to another 
charge next year, and another will come here. During his four years in 
Louisburg Mr. Massey has not only endeared himself to his own flock, 
by his faithfulness as pastor and preacher, but has, by his pious walk and 
Godly conversation, made a most favorable impression upon the entire 


community. It matters not where he may be sent both he and his good 
wife will be followed by the love and esteem of all our people." 

The arrival of Mr. Bishop, EC. 1907-1909, was announced in the 
Franklin Times upon his arrival in Louisburg. Under the heading "Rev. 
F. A. Bishop Writes of Louisburg," the paper quoted the "new pastor of 
the Methodist church" as writing the following for the Raleigh 
Christian Advocate the week before: "On the 18th of December we bid 
good-by to the dear friends of Selma and turned our faces toward 
Louisburg. About 7 o'clock at night of the same day we reached our 
new charge. We were met at the depot and conveyed to the parsonage, 
where we found many ready to give cordial greeting to the new 
preacher and his wife. A good supper was ready and so were we. On 
investigating we found these kind friends had amply provided the 
larder so that for many days we had plenty. 

"Louisburg has a neat, comfortable, well furnished and well 
finished brick church. The parsonage is exceedingly and conveniently 
arranged and more completely furnished than you usually find. Truly 
these people have wrought well in their church and in the home of their 
pastor. We have been kindly received and daily find kindness scattered 
along our paths." The rest of Mr. Bishop's comment will be found in 
the section headed "The Church and the College." 

In 1909 the Times took note of the general conference at which it 
would be determined whether the Rev Bishop would return to 
Louisburg. J. A. Thomas had died in August 1909; the report may 
have been written by Asher E Johnson, who in a few weeks would buy 
and become editor and manager of the paper. (He would also be a 
trustee of the Louisburg Methodist Church.) The story was headed 
"Rev E A. Bishop Leaves for Conference." "Rev. E A. Bishop, pastor 
of the Methodist church here, left Tuesday morning for conference 
which convened in Raleigh Wednesday morning. Mr. Bishop has just 
completed his second year at this charge and has endeared himself to 
our people in such a way that he will be long remembered by the 
majority of them. Of course at this writing it is impossible for us to say 
whether or not he will be returned here, but we do not feel that a better 
or more conscientious man could be found to fill his place. He was so 
social and encouraging that his presence was always welcome and his 
general remarks always acceptable, though at all times he was fully 
aware of his position in life and tried to make every act and word add to 
the glory of the one whom he was serving. For us, we would only be 
too glad to learn that he shall be returned. 

"He preached two excellent sermons to pretty good audiences on 
Sunday before leaving, in which he expressed his love for Louisburg 
and its people in very feeling words." 


The Times for 3 December 1909, listing all appointments for the 
Raleigh District, revealed that the Rev. R. W Bailey would serve in 
Louisburg. Others appointments associated with the Louisburg 
church were the Rev A. J. Parker as financial agent for Louisburg 
College (he would soon move his family to Louisburg); A. D. Wilcox 
to "Raleigh Central"; E. H. Davis to Rockingham. 

Citing the North Carolina Christian Advocate as source, the Times 
reported on 4 March 1910 that the Reverend J. H. West had made a 
study of minister's salaries in the Western North Carolina Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. "He shows that the average 
salary is now $750; ten years ago it was $509, which was $241 below 
what it is today" 

Armour David Wilcox, minister of the Church 1912-1916 and 
1929-1931, president of the College 1931-1937, performed at the 
Opera House in Louisburg in 1909. Having preached the preceding 
Sunday, morning and night {Times 14 May 1909), he "gave his 'picture 
play programs' at the Opera House, and his lecture, explaining the 
various scenes on canvas was especially interesting." Mr. Wilcox was 
stationed at Zebulon NC at the time. 

Following Wilcox came N. H. D. Wilson, 1916-1918; G. E Smith 
for a second term, 1918-1922; L. E. Thompson, 1922-1923; O. W 
Dowd, 1923-1927; Daniel Lane, 1927-1929; Wilcox again 
1929-1931; T A. Sikes, 1931-1932; O. P. Fitzgerald 1932-1936; and 
J. G. Phillips, 1936-1940. The terms of most of these ministers will 
receive some comment under other headings of this section. 

At a called meeting of the stewards on 31 October 1927 (Records 
of Stewards), Mrs. W E. White "read a letter a copy of which was to be 
sent to the Bishop, Presiding Elder, Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Bradshaw 
asking that Conference send a strong young man to be our pastor for 
the coming year. The letter was signed by members of the Board." The 
circumstances that produced this letter are not apparent in the 
Quarterly Conference Records, unless the following paragraph, 
Minister O. W Dowd's introduction to his report on the "General State 
of the Church," 6 October 1926, suggests a problem: "We are having 
good congregations, but not as large as we wish. The shepard is doing 
his best to feed the flock, but some wandring sheep do not gather 
within the fold for the nourishment. We believe the church leaders will 
guird [sic] themselves for the final tug, and will come out successfully" 

In the report of the Woman's Missionary Society to the Quarterly 
Conference, 18 April 1937, Mrs. J. A. Turner expressed appreciation of 
Minister J. G. Phillips and his wife, who had begun service in 
Louisburg in 1936: "Our society, as well as the church and the town, 
have gained both mentally and spiritually by having Mr. and Mrs. 
Phillips in our midst, and immediately becoming one of us. Their 


ceaseless labors and boundless enthusiasm and optimism are very 
stimulating and we shall indeed be poor women, needing to be 
ashamed if we do not advance our lives well forward under their 

Because membership numbers are in general offered without other 
comment than the listing of "Removals," "Profession of faith," or 
"Certificates," it is not possible to know whether the fluctuations result 
from correction of the records or from unidentified events such as 
fluctuations in town population. The figures appear from time to time 
in the Quarterly Conference records. In 1903, the figure was 293; 
1905, 319; a year later, 340; 1907, 343; 1908, 346; 1909, 208; 1910, 
238; 1913, 282; 1917, 356; 1919, 351; 1921, 466; 1922, 463; 1927, 
430; 1928, 451; 1929, 423; 1937, 403. 

The Church and the College 

Benjamin N. Duke, who had bought back the College from the 
local stock company when the company could not keep up its 
payments, in 1907 donated the Louisburg Female College to the 
North Carolina Conference of the Methodist church. Reporting the 
event on 5 July 1907, the Times noted that "For many years the 
institution was presided over by that prince of Christian gentlemen and 
educators, Prof. M. S. Davis, but the reigning genius, then as now, was 
Mrs. Mary Allen, his daughter, who succeeded her father to the 
presidency, and under whose wise leadership the college has gready 
prospered and grown." 

When the Rev. F A. Bishop began his term in Louisburg in 
December 1908 and printed his reactions in the Raleigh Christian 
Advocate, the Times reprinted his comments on the Church and the 
College: "Of course, Louisburg College is prominent in the pastoral 
care of this church, and it is truly a pleasure to minister to such 
intelligent, devoted women as have charge of the institution. As I stood 
in the presence of the president and her faculty and took in the scene of 
the good mother encircling all in her great heart of sympathy and love, 
I thought truly our girls here are under a hallowed influence. . . .Yes, 
Louisburg College ought to live and prosper. There is great need of 
additional buildings now, and they must be put there if the college is to 
do the work demanded." 

Minister L. S. Massey connected past and future in a toast at the 
alumnae banquet in May 1909. Pastor of the Church from 1903 till 
1907, he would be president of the College from 1920 to 1922. The 
Times reported his toast on 28 May 1909. "In toasting the 
College — Past, Present, and Future, Rev. L. S. Massey paid a glowing 


tribute to the great and noble work done by Mr. M. S. Davis for 
Louisburg College, and which more than any other one thing has made 
for the College in the past its record of high and lofty ideals, and sent 
out into the world so many noble women so well equipped in mind and 
heart to bless and ennoble the world. He also cast a prophetic eye into 
the future, seeing in the closer connection of the College with the 
Conference, which has done so much in the past two centuries for the 
education of its youth and the enlargement of its educational 
institutions, brighter and broader things far for Louisburg College in 
the future than have ever been done in even the past or present. We 
could dare say that no college alumni association in the state is better 
organized and more ably managed than that of Louisburg College. 
And that this is due largely to the untiring efforts of its most valuable 
secretary, Miss Cora D. Bagley, whose heart is thoroughly in the work. 

R. W Bailey, minister 1909-1912, in the last year of his tenure at 
the Church, stated in the Quarterly Conference Records his sense of the 
status of Louisburg College: "Louisburg College has had, I suppose, 
one of the most successful years in the history of the institution. The 
trustees of the College hope to begin the erection of a wing on die 
north side of the building real soon. This is gready needed both for 
dormitories and for classrooms." 

Early in 1910, the Conference, with the prospect of erecting a new 
building, the Davis Building honoring Matthew S. Davis, appointed a 
financial agent for the College. First to serve was the Rev. A. J. Parker, 
who moved to Louisburg. Armour David Wilcox, while he was pastor 
of the Louisburg Methodist Church 1912-1916, was financial agent 
for the College; the Quarterly Conference Records for the meeting of 1 
August 1913 noted his absence "in the interest of the College." The 
congregation and the College worked together to erect the Davis 
Building. The North Carolina Methodist Conference Quartette (first 
bass A. J. Parker was financial agent of the College) performed on two 
nights at the Opera House (Times, 18 February 1910) with the 
assistance of Mrs. A. H. Fleming (Helen Williams of the College music 
faculty) and her sister Sallie Williams, also of the College faculty. The 
proceeds went to erect "the building to the memory of our esteemed 
and honored educator, Mr. M. S. Davis." The quartet had sung at 
Sunday-school and Epworth League conventions. A local group 
performed similarly — with jokes — and made a hundred dollars for the 
cause (Times, 25 February 1910). The same issue of the Times 
published a list of the contributors to the Davis Memorial Fund, with 
the amounts they had contributed, which totalled $5,100. 

College presidents during these years were members of the boards, 
being Methodist ministers themselves. F S. Love, president from 


Louisburg College in 1917. From a postcard. 

1917-1920, served on the boards during that period and returned at 
times to Louisburg as presiding elder after his years as president of the 
college. L. S. Massey, who had been minister of the church 1903-1907, 
was president of the college 1920-1922. A. W. Mohn, president of the 
college 1922-1929, was elected a steward on 15 October 1922, having 
become a member of the church in July. Armour David Wilcox, 
minister for two terms, 1912-1916 and 1929-1931, was president of 
the college from 1931 to 1937. 

Daniel Lane in Quarterly Conference Records for 5 February 1928 
described a program related to a persistent concern. "In an effort to tie 
the college closer to the church and to the town, town mothers are 
provided for each of the classes, to visit the girls, invite them into their 
homes and especially in cases of sickness to mother them." 

A fire at Louisburg College on 5 December 1928 destroyed the 
west wing and the top two stories of Main Building (Willard, Echoes, 
150). The loss was significant; photos show Main Building burned 
down to the level of the capitals of the columns. Church Quarterly 
Conference Records note only that the Sunday school at the College 
had to be closed as a result (16 December 1928), without suggesting 
accommodation in the Church. 

As Wilcox's presidency gave way to that of D. E. Earnhardt, the 
Church instituted a "plan of affiliated membership for college students 
and a visitation was conducted under the leadership of Roland 
Rainwater, student asistant." The program gathered in 120 students 
who "affiliated" with the Church, presumably retaining their home 


church membership (Quarterly Conference Records 31 October 

Minister J. G. Phillips began teaching a course in Old Testament 
history at the College in the fall of 1937. Many ministers after him were 
to teach the required bible courses at the College, including E. H. 
Davis in his retirement. 

A. D. Wilcox's preoccupation with the unity of College and church 
is put into words in his report to the Quarterly Conference of July 19, 
1931. He may have written this statement in anticipation of his 
transition from minister of the Louisburg church to president of 
Louisburg College; certainly he was concerned to strengthen the ties 
between church and college. "Louisburg College ought," he wrote, "to 
fill and can be made to fill a large part in the defence of Christian 
Education. I am discussing these points in a group of sermons and 
addresses on the following themes. 1. The Definition and 
Interpretation of Christian Education. 2. The Possible Place of 
Louisburg College in any system of Christian Education. 3. Spiritual 
Life and New Physchology [sic]. 4. Are we Satisfied with present 
Achievements of Christian Education [?]. 5. The Call of our Times to 
Youth. 6. Can the North Carolina Conference afford to surrender its 
privileges and lose its opportunity to defend and support real Christian 
Education in Louisburg College [?]." Fifty years earlier, it would not 
have occurred to anyone in Louisburg, minister or layman, to write 
such a prospectus. In his insistent examination of what it means to 
educate people according to the precepts of the church, Wilcox was 
acknowledging the increasing secularization of the society On what 
grounds does education meet the ways of thought (psychology) that 
are becoming prevalent? In the human psyche as described by John 
Watson or Sigmund Freud, is there a place for spirituality? How does 
one define spirituality in a secular society? 

Education of the Young 

On 3 May 1907 Quarterly Conference Records note the death of 
George Spencer Baker, for decades superintendent of the Sunday 
school. "His memory is precious ointment poured forth." Frank B. 
McKinne accepted the post. Baker was replaced as a trustee by M. 
Stuart Davis, who served as steward and trustee until his death in 1959 
and was at times delegate to the district conference. Davis had grown 
up in the Louisburg Methodist Church, which he joined at the age of 
thirteen in 1890. He attended Duke and West Point and taught at 
Louisburg College when his father was president. The board meetings 


sometimes took place in his office on the second floor of the bank 
building on the corner of Main and Nash. 

Concern for the education of young people is apparent throughout 
the records of the Quarterly Conferences. In the fall a list is presented of 
young people who have enrolled in college or private school and where 
they have enrolled. The minister frequently mentions having preached 
the "education sermon" that year. On 12 August 1907 L. S. Massey 
PC, reported that "E N. Egerton, Jr., and Fred W Hicks have been 
attending Trinity College; Elliott Egerton has been in Trinity Park 
School; Miss Eleanor Cooke has been in Greensboro College; Misses 
Bettie and Fannie Boddie have been attending the State Normal and 
Industrial College, and a number have attended the Louisburg Female 
College and the Graded School in town." 

Sunday-school at the College. Quarterly Conference Records for 30 
Oct. 1908 list Frank B. McKinne as Sunday-school superintendent for 
the Church but Mary Davis Allen for the College. "Our Sunday school 
at the Church shows loss by the College girls attending [Sunday] 
school at the College but there is an increase in the town element." This 
arrangement continued; on 21 November 1913 Mabel Davis was listed 
as College Sunday-school superintendent, and the average attendance 
at the church was 125, at the College 110; total enrollment was 300. 
Late in the summer of 1912, when there was no Sunday school at the 
college during vacation,"Miss Mabel Davis has had splendid success 
with a large class of young men which she organized several months 
ago." On 1 November 1912, "Miss Mabel Davis's afternoon class of 
young men is holding up in interest and doubtless doing much good" 
(Quarterly Conference Records). 

In the fall of 1919 Miss Sallie Betts of the college faculty became 
Sunday-school superintendent for the college (Quarterly Conference 
Records, 17 October 1919). In 1931 Edward L. Best, Superintendent 
of the Sunday School, reported to Minister A. D. Wilcox a membership 
of 316. 

A New Sunday-school Building. At the Quarterly Conference 
meeting of 3 June 1912 there was "talk" of building a "Sunday-school 
room." A committee was appointed: M. Stuart Davis, David F 
McKinne, and W H. Pleasants. (Both Davis and Pleasants were sons of 
fathers of the same name active in the church in the preceding century.) 
Frank B. McKinne was added on 21 February 1913. On 13 August 
1913 the records indicate that the sum of $4000 was needed to build 
the Sunday-school rooms, and the work would be done in the summer 
and fall (presumably of 1914). Borrowing was authorized at the 


meeting of 23 April 1915. This structure functioned until replaced in 
the late 1950s by the Blount Fellowship Hall. 

When Minister A. D. Wilcox referred to the improvements in the 
building on 8 February 1915 ("The improvements in the building have 
given us a good plant at a cost of about $7200") he probably referred to 
the new building and some alterations in the sanctuary as well. 

The need for additional space in the sanctuary was noted in 
connection with the plans for a modern Sunday-school building; the 
Sunday morning congregation filled all available space (21 February 
1913). M. S. Davis, architect of the new building, was authorized on 
21 September 1914 to remove the partition in the back of the church, 
which separated the sanctuary from the old Sunday-school rooms. The 
change may not have been made at this time: In the "last week of July 
1927" the stewards discussed "dividing the Sunday-school room in 
front of the church" into three classrooms, using "permanent instead of 
temporary partitions." Again, the change was authorized. In the 1930s 
there were separate rooms in this area separated from the sanctuary 
when it was desirable by wooden curtains that rolled up into overhead 
housing in the top of the old partition. A similar arrangement was 
provided for the (then) men's Sunday-school room to the left facing the 
altar. Thus subtractable space was available for the congregation at 
main services, an arrangement that lasted well into the 1940s. 

The Church Library. The church maintained a library of 311 
volumes, and the record book survives. The books are listed and 
numbered; Sir Walter Scott is well represented, some are religious 
works, many are adventure stories for children (The Submarine Boys on 
Duty, The Pony Rider Boys in Montana, etc.). Both adults and young 
people borrowed the books, and the record of withdrawals and returns 
extends from 1904 through 1912. These records are in many hands (in 
several years both early and late I recognize the handwriting of M. 
Stuart Davis; he once checked out for himself a book entitied Homo 

Children's Church. As part of the regular morning service preceding 
the sermon, a "junior congregation" was customary during these years 
(21 February 1913). It was part of the regular morning service 
preceding the sermon. A. D. Wilcox on 21 November reported average 
attendance of 50 with an enrollment of 65. On 8 February 1915 Wilcox 
wrote that there was a junior sermon every Sunday: "unique and I think 
quite satisfactory." 

Daniel Lane in 1928 (Quarterly Conference Records 24 June) 
wrote that, in keeping with the "fundamental principle" of the "church 


being primarily an educational institution for the children and youth, 
we give one Sunday of each month to the children and young people." 
He has, however, "not yet been able to properly head up the auxiliary 
organizations in such a church service." 

The Epworth League and the Youth Culture of the 1920 y s. In the 
bound book of printed forms provided by the organization of the 
Methodist Church for reports on quarterly conferences, a standard 
question concerned the number and existence of Epworth Leagues. In 
the 1890s the answer was always that the Louisburg church had none. 
A league was first organized in March 1900, as recorded in Chapter 4. 
The Times reported (9 March) that Dr. S. P. Burt had been elected 
president. According to the Times, the vice-presidents were Minnie 
Egerton, Mabel Davis, and Mattie Ballard; the secretary was William 
Richardson, Jr.; the treasurer was Bessie Kearney The group met on 
Sunday evenings at 8:30. Announcement of a "Literary meeting" 
scheduled for 6 March 1901 appeared in the Franklin Times for 1 March 
1901. "An Evening with Ben Hur" included a synopsis of the novel, a 
talk entided "The Eastern Legend and its Embellishment by Lew 
Wallace," three readings and recitations, and six musical selections, two 
of them by the choir. Mrs. Kate Beckwith of the College presented one 
of the readings. The vice-president for the Literary Committee was 
Mariam N. Massenburg. 

This particular League was a young-adults organization; in the 
coming decades, both youth and adult groups would be formed and 
reformed as interest in the Leagues fluctuated. 

On 19 May 1913, A. D. Wilcox reported to the Quarterly 
Conference that "An Epworth League of more than 60 charter 
members has recentiy been formed. This grew out of the revival 
meetings which closed a few weeks ago. The membership of the 
League is composed entirely of young people of the church and the 
town. It promises to be a thriving society." However, the list of officers 
contains at least two adults: H. L. Candler, O. Y. Yarboro, Misses Mary 
Stuart Egerton, Maude Hicks, and Margie Macon, and M. S. Davis. 

This Junior League appears to have flourished. But for the seniors 
the report for 25 September 1914 was not good. "The Epworth 
League, senior department, is [a] failure thus far. It is a question 
whether we shall try to continue it. But the Junior work flourishes" 
with twenty- four members. 

A. D. Wilcox continues that the Knights of Ezelah was a thriving 
organization, and the stewards contemplated a similar organization for 
the girls. Quarterly Conference Records for 21 April 1916 reported 
that the Knights of Ezelah were starting an anti-profanity movement. 


Habits viewed by the church as sins were increasingly being thought of 
as mores by the congregation. 

Throughout 1915 the league's fortunes fluctuated; it "lacks 
leadership"; then it was revived and its progress was described. In the 
first quarter of 1917, Rev. N. H. D. Wilson reported that "both 
Epworth Leagues are missing the wise and faithful leadership of Miss 
Young, but Miss Sallie Taylor and Brother Russell Harris are very 
acceptably leading the young people" (Quarterly Conference Records). 
In October 1917 "The Epworth League is inactive, but will soon be 
reorganized"; Minister Wilson had been ill. Following the flu epidemic 
in the winter of 1918-1919, it was "doing well," with 40 members and 
an average attendance of twenty (Quarterly Conference Records, 28 
April 1919). 

The Times reported on 13 June 1919 that the North Carolina 
Epworth League Assembly to meet at the College the following week 
was "attracting a range of talent rarely seen in a young people's 
meeting." Musicians were to participate, as were ten ministers. The 
public was invited to the meetings in the College auditorium. For 
Louisburg College, the presence of two of the participants was 
prophetic of its future: A. D. Wilcox would be president during the 
1930s and Walter Patten during the 1940s. 

So significant was this League assembly that the Times published 
alongside its announcement an article by Mabel Davis, College teacher, 
entitled "Louisburg and Methodism." It begins, "The meeting of the 
Epworth League Conference in Louisburg next week stirs memories of 
other conferences held in and near Louisburg in the early days of 
Methodism." She deals with three conferences at Green Hill and 
subsequent ones in 1842 (on Nash Street), 1852, 1860, and 1895. 

In spite of its varying fortunes during the early decades of the 20th 
century, the League seems to have been regarded as of the utmost 
importance, in part because of the stress on the young in the original 
prospectus of 18th-century Methodism, but perhaps also because of 
the lively secular youth culture of the 1920s. On 5 February 1928 
Daniel Lane, P.C., describes successful League activity: "We have a 
college Senior Epworth League with 32 members doing good work." 
The pastor had just begun a study of the Handbook with them. An 
Epworth Hi League had been organized. 

In spite of constantly renewed efforts to maintain Leagues for first 
one, then two, then three age groups, by 1929 Minister Lane and the 
boards were keenly aware of the possibility of losing the young people. 
On 14 July 1929 Lane reported that a Senior League had been revived 
after a long gap, "to save to the Church as many of our young people 
from the ages of 1 7-30 as possible after so long a gap of no organized or 
consistent and persistent effort to interest, hold and use [them] in the 


Master's service." There are to be outings under Christian supervision. 
The Epworth League Assembly held at the College had just closed "the 
best session it has ever had." Three hundred were enrolled as credit 
students. "The President of the Assembly reports the best deportment 
in his six-years administration. We report this in defense of our much 
criticized young people." Conference League assemblies would 
become an annual summer custom at the College. 

Further, there was a successful vacation bible school in the summer 
of 1929. Other churches participated, and the school enrolled 200 boys 
and girls ages six to sixteen. Pastor Lane had "instigated it" but was 
himself absent in a government hospital in Memphis TN at the time it 
was held. 

Under Superintendent E. L. Best, in 1929 there were six 
departmental superintendents: Mrs. George Mead, Mrs. M. C. 
Pleasants, W R. Parsons, Mrs. Ben T Holden, Mrs. O. J. Hale, and 
Mrs. E. W Furgurson. Enrollment was, with the College, 400 
(Quarterly Conference Records, 24 February 1929). On 20 October 
1929 Lane reported in the conference records "three fine leagues doing 
good work" and a Sunday school at the Church of 360, including the 
College since the fire of December 1928. 

Intensified effort for young people of the 1920s may also be 
expressed in Mrs. A. D. Wilcox's organization of a junior choir. Her 
husband had begun a second term as minister beginning in 1929 and 
would in 1931 become College president. 

Activities of the Congregation 

The Missionary Society. Missionary activities during this period 
continued to flourish, as they had in the 1890s. In June 1909 the 
Womans' Home Mission Society of the North Carolina Conference 
held its conference in Louisburg June 1-4. There were sixty delegates 
present, and the public was invited to its sessions. The local committee 
in charge was made up of Rev. F. A. Bishop, Mabel Davis, Mrs. F B. 
McKinne, and Mrs. J. A. Turner. 

The Woman's Missionary Society and its departments did "very 
well," as Minister R. W Bailey reported to the Quarterly Conference 24 
March 1911. He congratulated the women. Only the church of 
Weldon, he wrote, paid more to the cause (among churches in the 
district), and that town was larger and richer. The Woman's Missionary 
Society reported on 11 November 1918 "We have four departments, as 
follows: Bright Jewels with 20 members; Young People's [Missionary 
Society] with 23 members, Wesleyans with 14 members, and the 


Woman's Missionary Society with 53 members. Total 110." Records 
for 24 July 1914 report illustrated lectures on Cuba, Korea, and Africa. 

In many Quarterly Conference Reports, the account of Missionary 
Society activities is the most detailed of all the reports. The very 
consistency and success of its efforts made its leadership apparent in the 
social-welfare efforts of the late 1920s and the depression. 

In 1937 a "young women's and business women's circle of the 
missionary society" was added, and Mrs. J. G. Phillips, the minister's 
wife, was elected leader of the circle (Quarterly Conference Records, 1 1 
July 1937). The Society reported to the Quarterly Conference on 
October 31 that because of the work of the young- women's circle, 
membership in the society had increased from 48 the preceding year to 

Fund-raisers. If the number of entertainments offered by the ladies 
of the church as reported in the Franklin Times is a dependable 
indication, there was a decline from the late- 19th-century period. A 
musical at the Opera House sponsored by the Women's Missionary 
Society benefited the Foreign Mission Board, which urgendy needed 
funds "to pay off mortgages for property owned in the Mission fields" 
(Times, 6 November 1908). Admission was twenty-five cents. During 
the next four or five years there were several entertainments for the 
benefit of the "new building at the College"; in these the Church 
participated, but the College staff was largely responsible. 

In March 1909 Little Women was presented at the Opera House, 
the proceeds intended for the beautification of the grounds of the 
Methodist Church (Times, 5 March 1909). 

Unbecoming Conduct. As before 1900, there was periodic concern 
about the behavior of the congregation. There were "some dancing and 
some drinking" noted in the Quarterly Conference Records for 18 
April 1904. (All the while the Franklin Times, at that time still under the 
editorship of a trustee, carried ads for individual brands of potable 
alcohol.) According to Quarterly Conference Records for 22 October 
1906, "Violations of discipline have been manifested in an epidemic of 
card playing during the quarter. This has been indulged not only in 
private but also in the form of card parties, and both by children and 
adults." The secular society was making strides, judging from this 
information from Minister L. S. Massey 

Minister F. A. Bishop noted on 25 January 1909 that "some of our 
people neglect the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper." And A. D. Wilcox, 
P. C, on 21 February 1913 was asked to speak to stewards who did not 
attend meetings; only three were present at that meeting. But 


seemingly the most serious action was taken on 24 July 1914, when, 
according to A. D. Wilcox's report, "a committee was appointed to 
inquire into the advisability of asking some of our more sinful and 
worldly members either to return, live a better life in the church or to 
withdraw from its fellowship." This committee, whose members were 
not named, was to report "after another conference had been called." In 
his report to the 25 September 1914 conference, Mr. Wilcox wrote 
that the work of the church for the fall season had ellicited interest and 
enthusiasm, the congregations were large, prayer meeting was 
improving, and "the general situation is good if not entirely as we 
would like to see it." Things could look up in the church, even as 
worldliness seemed to advance. 

Influenza. On 11 November 1918 N. H. D. Wilson, Preacher in 
Charge, reported in the Quarterly Conference Records, "Our Epworth 
League had been forced by reason of the going away of all of its officers 
to suspend a few weeks but has reorganized with new zeal. I ask the 
confirmation of Mrs. F. S. Love as President. The Sunday Schools have 
been suspended because of the influenza, but we hope soon to recover 
from the loss arising from this necessary suspension. . . . All church 
activities have been seriously affected by the epidemic but we hope to 
catch up soon." Unclear as is the reference to the "going away of all of 
its officers," it is certain that the epidemic had been in progress for 
several months. 

Minister G. F. Smith wrote on 7 February 1919 under "General 
State of the Church" in the Conference Records, "The work of the 
church in all of its departments has been seriously interfered with by the 
c flu' situation. Perhaps fifty families of the church have had it since I 
came [at the end of December 1918]. The result has necessarily been a 
small attendance at the League, Sunday School, Woman's Missionary 
Society, and the church services. We have not had preaching [these] last 
three Sunday nights." He lists the dead without noting whether they 
were victims of the flu: "J. A. Turner, one of our stewards, Mrs. Ella J. 
Webb, Mrs. F. R. Pleasants and Mrs. John Barrow have died." 
Nationwide the epidemic is reported as having begun to abate by 
November 1918 and as having run its course by spring. 

Official Roll, 1903-1938. A number of stewards and trustees served 
for the better part of their adult lives, and frequentiy a steward also 
served as trustee at the same time. What follows is the official roll for 
1903 in its entirety, with additions made in later years but not, in 
general, deletions, which are in any case rarely indicated. Quarterly 
Conference Records for the year 1903 list as stewards L. P. Hicks, W 
H. Macon, R. Z. Egerton, M. C. Pleasants, J. J. Barrow, W H. 


Furgurson, W. J. Byerly, and W. B. Cooke. Trustees were W. H. 
Pleasants, Jr., George S. Baker, M. S. Davis, F. N. Egerton, B. B. 
Massenburg, M. H. Aycock, and L. P. Hicks. The list of stewards for 
1905 omits some of these names but adds that of J. A. Thomas as a 

In 1906 P. A. Reavis was added to the stewards, and among the 
trustees there appeared Frank Ballard and Dr. S. P. Burt. M. S. Davis 
was district steward. E. Odum was added in 1907. In 1907 F. B. 
McKinne became Sunday-school superintendent and a steward. In 
1909 E. W Furgurson was secretary to the conference, and the M. S. 
Davis among the trustees is M. Stuart Davis, son of Matthew S. Davis, 
who died in 1906. D. F McKinne first appears as a steward in 191 1 and 
W J. Barrow and A. W Person as trustees. 

On 21 November 1913 A. F Johnson was listed as a visitor to the 
quarterly conference; Johnson was the new owner and editor of the 
Franklin Times following the death of James Adolphus "Dolly" Thomas 
in 1909. In 1914 the new name among the stewards was H. L. Candler, 
and J. L. Palmer became assistant Sunday-school superintendent to 
Frank B. McKinne. In 1915 R. C. Beck is added to the stewards, and F 
N. Egerton (probably junior) appears among the trustees. Additions to 
the stewards in 1916 were E. H. Malone (son of Dr. J. E. Malone and 
Annie Fuller Malone) and G. W Murphy; new trustee was W E. White. 
In 1918 Malcolm McKinne was elected to fill a vacancy among the 
stewards created by the resignation of his brother David F McKinne 
(upon marriage, Malcolm became an Episcopalian). 

In 1919 the name of Edward Lee Best, county superintendent of 
schools, appears as a trustee. New stewards in 1920 were John W 
Harris, L. S. Cottrell, C. H. Perdue and R. K. Person. The inclusion of 
women was new; two became stewards in 1921: Mrs. W E. White and 
Mrs. D. T Smithwick. "President of Louisburg College" is also listed as 
a trustee to be; it was apparently not yet known that the president 
would be L. S. Massey, minister of the church 1903-1907. Mrs. M. C. 
Pleasants is added as a steward in 1922, as was the sheriff of Franklin 
County, Fenner N. Spivey (whose son Fenner, retired from a Texas oil 
company, would be a trustee in the 1990s). Mrs. S. A. Newell would 
appear as a steward in 1923, as would A. W Mohn, president of the 
College 1922-1929. 

The Official Roll for 1925-1926 added Fisher J. Beasley, George W 
Cobb, R. R. Kissell, and Janie (Mrs. Osmonde) Yarboro. For 
1926-1927 the name of Ben H. Meadows is new among the trustees 
and W R. Parson among the stewards. By this time it was customary 
for the presidents of the Missionary Society and the Epworth League to 
be present at meetings. 


The Quarterly Conference Records also list on 23 November 1925 
eighteen Junior Stewards, without indication that they were to meet 
with the board: Kenneth White, Marion Gardner, Elizabeth Webb, 
William Joyner, Eliza Newell, Francis Turner, Pearl Pearce, Mary 
Malone Best, Fred Hicks, Jr., Ernest Furgerson, Carl Allen, John 
Williamson, Richard Mohn, Donald Cook, Grey Egerton, George 
Wilcox, and Lucy Perry Burt. Some at least of these juniors would have 
been in their late teens or early twenties at the time. (Lucy Perry Burt 
was born about 1906.) 

A drastic change in the make-up of the board was decided upon in 
1928. A surviving record book of the board of stewards for 1927-1929 
reports on 3 December 1928 the passage of a motion to the effect that 
one third of the Board of Stewards would be replaced each year "so that 
the entire adult membership would be employed in this work." 

In 1929 Mrs. D. F. McKinne and J. R. Gantt were added as 
stewards with C. C. Alexander, president of the College. Asher F. 
Johnson, Times editor, became a steward in 1931 with Betty (Mrs. J. 
W) Mann and J. A. (Al) Hodges. Additions for 1933-1934 were Carey 
M. Howard (brother-in-law of Al Hodges), whose wife Margaret 
Hicks Howard was church historian at mid-century, General Edward F. 
Griffin, Mrs. W B. Barrow, and Maurice C. Murphy, son of G. W 
Murphy, who appeared earlier, owners of the store where everyone 
shopped for groceries as late as the 1960s. Mrs. O. P. Fitzgerald (the 
minister's wife) was present as president of the Missionary Society, with 
Mrs. W L. Beasley, Mrs. L. V Parker, and Mrs. A. D. Wilcox in 
undesignated positions. In 1935 Mrs. J. A. Turner returned, and new 
names are Henry Holt and W C. Strowd, principal of the Louisburg 
public school. The plan of augmentation of the board each year seems 
to have been carried out. 

The roll for 1936-1937 added Rev. E. H. Davis as superannuate 
and Rev. D. E. Earnhardt, now College president; and the minutes 
noted the death of Rev. A. D. Wilcox. Lula Mae Stipe, Louisburg 
College dean of women, became a steward, as did Hugh H. Perry, F. G. 
Baker, and Hamilton Hobgood (later judge of the superior court and a 
trustee as late as 1990). S. C. Harris and Mrs. J. G. Phillips (the 
minister's wife) were present at subsequent meetings. 

This list is neither exhaustive nor completely accurate. The Official 
Roll form was not regularly filled out. It does, however, reveal a major 
degree of continuity — of families, and especially, during these decades, 
of fathers and sons — in the structure of the church. The purposeful 
addition beginning in 1928 of three new members every year probably 
did, however, keep the board representative. 

In the early decades of the station the activity of women was 
impossible to document in official records. Finally, in the 1890s the 


Sunday-school record books show their numbers and predominance in 
the education of the young, and by 1920 they were present on official 
boards. In contrast to the apparently consistent successful functioning 
of the Missionary Society is the struggle for an Epworth League, the 
group perpetually fluctuating but eventually prevailing as a young 
people's organization. The presence of the name of the president of the 
League on the Official Rolls shows a gradual inclusion of young people 
on boards if not at meetings. 

Revivals. During these decades revivals appear to have been an 
annual affair. L. S. Massey announced a revival for late September 1907 
(Times). "It is designed to begin a series of meetings in the Methodist 
Church on the fifth Sunday of this month. Rev. Euclid McWhorter of 
the North Carolina Conference has been secured for these services. . . . 
While these services will be held in the Methodist Church, it is earnestly 
desired by the pastor and membership that all the churches of the town 
unite with us in this work. We . . . trust that the Christian people of the 
town will work together for the upbuilding of the Master's kingdom." 
On October 4 the paper reported that the services were "quite largely 

The Times reported on 8 October 1909 that a ten-day revival was 
about to begin under Rev. E A. Bishop, whose term as minister ended 
the year before when R. W Bailey was appointed to Louisburg. Mr. 
Bishop would be assisted by the Rev. E. H. Davis, then preaching in 

"Talk" of building a Sunday-school building was associated with a 
"gracious revival" in the term of service of R. W Bailey (Times, 3 June 
1912). The League was revived in 1913 because of the impetus 
provided by a revival in Minister A. D. Wilcox's term. In 1919 eleven 
days of revival meetings began on the fourth Sunday in September with 
W W Peek of Edenton Street preaching; G. E Smith was preacher in 
charge at the time (Quarterly Conference Records, 17 October 1919). 
And in 1920, still in Smith's term, the Methodists and Baptists united 
in revival services (17 June 1920). An eight-day revival at Piney Grove 
was held in 1920. A "meeting" in April 1921 conducted by W W Peele, 
whose services were obtained by L. S. Massey, involved also a union 
session with the Baptist Church. A. D. Wilcox himself led a five-day 
revival in October 1922 while L. E. Thompson was minister. 

Pastor Daniel Lane reported two weeks of meetings in the 
Quarterly Conference Records for 22 April 1928. "We have recently 
held a two weeks meeting with three services a day, one at the College 
and two at the Church, the pastor doing the preaching. All services 
were well attended. Both the student body and the Church 
membership were revived. Deep interest was especially manifest in the 


College revival with four of the twelve in the College who were not 
members offering themselves for Church membership." In February 
1929, under Mr. Lane, a "Go to Church" effort was mounted, 
following a successful "Go to Sunday School" movement, all 
culminating in a revival conducted at the church in April 1929 by Dr. 
Gilbert T. Rowe, Chairman of Christian Doctrine at Duke (Quarterly 
Conference Records, 24 February 1929). 

In 1937 Dr. D. E. Earnhardt, president of Louisburg College, 
conducted a revival in the Church from September 26 till October 3 
(Quarterly Conference Records, 31 October 1937). 

Adult Sunday-school. Sunday-school for children received most 
comment throughout, but the figures concerning attendance doubtless 
include adult classes as well. In December 1928, Daniel Lane, minister, 
reported that the schools were doing well with the exception of the fact 
that the teachers did not always show up or give notice in advance that 
they would not be present (Quarterly Conference Records, 18 

In 1920 (Quarterly Conference Records 31 October 1920) the 
superintendent, Frank McKinne, faithful since 1907, commented on 
the businessmen's class, which, he wrote, maintained a different 
schedule from the other classes and did not use the same literature, 
which was "International." "While it is true that the business men's 
class holds together fairly well the attendance in this class is very 
disappointing, also this class seems very much inclined to run its own 
business and has segregated itself almost entirely from the main body of 
Sunday School, meeting and adjourning at will and with few 
exceptions never attending the opening or closing exercises of the 
school." These opening and closing services had been traditional for 
decades, with the superintendent usually leading the service. McKinne 
feels that a "change in leadership is advisable" and requests that a new 
superintendent be elected by the quarterly conference. 

McKinne may have had trouble resigning. His name continues as 
superintendent, but there is no Sunday-school report in the Quarterly 
Conference Reports through 1922; there are only gaps where pages 
were torn out of the record book. (The record book for 1923-1924 is 
missing.) In 1925 the name of J. L. Palmer, who had been McKinne's 
assistant superintendent, appears as Sunday-school superintendent, 
and the businessmen's bible class was taught by B. H. Meadows. At the 
beginning of 1927 Edward Lee Best, superintendent of schools for 
Franklin County, succeeded Palmer. McKinne's resignation may also 
have been the end of traditional exercises combining adults and 
children which had opened and closed each Sunday-school session. 
Certainly in the years when I attended Sunday school in the Louisburg 


church in the late 1920s and the 1930s, no one older than teenagers 
attended opening and closing exercises. At the time of McKinne's 
resignation, total Sunday-school enrollment was 149 and average 
attendance was 100. 

Perhaps it is not unexpected that a group of businessmen as a 
Sunday-school class are seen here going their own way just as the 1920s 
begin. Is it also symptomatic of the times that their attendance was 
disappointing? Perhaps it was a sign of the rise of a new breed of 

The Men's Bible Class, as it later came to be called, must have been 
the successor to this businessmen's class. T. A. Sikes, P. C, reported 
(Quarterly Conference Records 27 January 1931) that "Brother E. H. 
Davis is ... a wonderful help by his presence and as a regular teacher in 
the Sunday School." Edward Hill Davis, retired from the Conference, 
returned to Louisburg and became the teacher of the men's class. He 
taught in the room off the sanctuary to the left facing the altar, where 
his picture hangs today. In 1932 Sikes wrote in the conference reports 
that "Brother Davis's Bible class is increasing in members and 
influence. They have the largest class that has been present at any hour 
of Sunday school for a number of years." 

Church Music. Nothing was reported in Quarterly Conference 
Records about the choir during this period. Only one notice in the 
Franklin Times concerns music in the Church. On 4 March 1910 the 
paper reported that the "music committee of the Methodist Church has 
secured the services of Mrs. A. H. Fleming as organist until Mrs. J. E. 
Malone recovers. They are to be congratulated upon their success, as 
Mrs. Fleming's ability in this capacity is well known among our 
people." Mrs. Malone was recovering from having broken or dislocated 
a shoulder when she slipped on the ice on a sleety day walking from her 
daughter's house (Mrs. S. H. Parham) to her own. Anna Richmond 
Fuller Malone was the daughter of the writer of the valuable diary of 
the Civil War period and after; in her diary her mother reports that she 
had taught music before her marriage. Mrs. A. H. Fleming was Helen 
Williams, music teacher at Louisburg College during the 
administration of Matthew Davis and now wife of local dentist Arthur 
Hynes Fleming. Her daughter, Jean Fleming (Mrs. Sam) Maddox, 
resides in Louisburg in 1997. Mrs. Fleming's sister also taught at the 
College; both are present in the photograph of the faculty in 1905. 

The records do not reveal the date when Janie (Mrs. Osmond) 
Yarboro became organist. It was probably before 1925, when she was 
first listed as a member of the board. "Miss Janie," who taught 
public-school music at Mills High School, retired as organist in 1959. 


A new arrival on the faculty of Louisburg College in 1936 would 
be the leading figure in the music program of the Church for decades to 
come. Professor I. D. Moon, who taught voice and other subjects and 
whose wife taught home economics at the College, became choir 
director in 1937 (Quarterly Conference Records, 31 October 1937). 
The Moons, natives of Missouri and Kansas, came to Louisburg from 
As bury college in Kentucky 

Committees and Training Groups. On 20 February 1927, Minister 
O. W Dowd listed the following lay committees: Board of Lay 
Activities, Golden Cross Society, Superannuate Committee, 
Stewardship Committee, committee to circulate church literature, 
Missionary Committee, and conference representatives for April 1927. 

During this year references occur to a "Standard Training School" 
which yielded credits for the church won by teachers as well as 
non- teachers of the Sunday school. Again, in March 1929 a 
"Countywide Standard Training School" was held at the College, 
apparently an interdenominational effort. Both appear to have been 
outgrowths of the "standard teacher- training school" launched in 1926 
(Quarterly Conference Records, 26 March 1926). On 3 October 1926 
Mr. Dowd reported as a successful project completed a "stewardship 
school in which about seventy enrolled," apparendy a separate 
enterprise from the standard training school. 

Throughout the first half of the century, special named groups 
inside the Church were organized but may not have been long-lived. 
The first, of course, was the Epworth League, which persisted in 
various states of vitality until about mid-century, when it became the 
Methodist Youth Fellowship. There were many others: the Knights of 
Ezelah, who started an anti-profanity movement; the Spiritual Life 
Group of the Woman's Missionary Society (1937), which itself read 
and promoted The Upper Room; the Bishop's Crusade of 1937, and the 
Vance-Franklin Young People's Union. 

Notable Members of the Congregation. Sarah Richmond Long Shine 
died in 1845. In the 20th century her descendants were still among the 
notables of the congregation. Edwin Fuller died in 1870; his sister 
Annie Fuller (Mrs. James E.) Malone, lived until 1934. She and her 
brother married brother and sister James E. Malone and Mary 
Elizabeth Malone, the children of Dr. Ellis Malone. The two Fullers 
were the great-grandchildren of Grandma Shine. The two Malones 
whom they married were also great-grandchildren of Grandma Shine. 
And there were others. Daniel Shine Hill in the 19th century was her 
grandson; Pauline Hill Brooks was her great granddaughter. Edward 
Hill Davis (d. 1953) was her great-great grandson, as was M. S. Davis, 


Jr., perpetual member of the board of trustees following his father's 
death and architect of the 1912 Sunday-school building. 

Dr. James E. Malone, who married Annie Richmond Fuller, was 
Superintendent of Health for Franklin County. The couple were a 
cultural force in the town, as spokespersons for various organizations 
and as founders and members of reading clubs. He published a novel 
serially in the Franklin Times; she was organist at the Church. Their two 
sons, Edwin and James, were lawyers, Edwin a trustee of the Church. 
Dr. Malone died in 1928, Mrs. Malone in 1934. She was referred to in 
the Quarterly Conference Records as "Mother Malone," by many 
kinpeople in town as "Cousin Annie." 

Their daughter, Nan, was married in 1909 to Edward Lee Best, 
superintendent of the Sunday school, principle of the Louisburg 
Graded School, and later superintendent of schools for Franklin 
County. In 1935 he became superintendent of schools for Mecklenburg 
County. The marriage ceremony was performed in the Malone home 
by the Rev. John London of the Episcopal Church (Times , 3 December 
1909; perhaps the Methodist minister, the Rev. F. A. Bishop, was at 
conference at the time; he was not reappointed to Louisburg). The 
children of the Bests were Edward Lee, Jr., resident of Louisburg till his 
death in the 1980s, who married Ruth Jenkins of Franklinton, both 
active Church members, and Mary Malone Best, as a young woman a 
Sunday-school teacher at the Methodist Church. 

At about the time of Dr. Malone's death, the Quarterly Conference 
Records note that his daughter-in-law, Mildred Watters (Mrs. James E., 
Jr.) Malone, joined the Church. Mildred Malone also held various 
positions in the Church, such as recording steward in 1957-1958; in 
later years, however, she became an Episcopalian. One of her services 
was to type for Louisburg College the library's copy of the diary, so 
significant to town and Church history, written by her husband's 
grandmother, Anne Thomas Fuller (Parrish). 

Dr. Samuel Perry Burt, leader of the Epworth League in its earliest 
days, set up his practice in Louisburg in the 1890s. His wife was Viola 
Davis Burt; both were active in the Church. For several decades he 
headed the Franklin County Department of Health. Dr. Burt died in 

J. R. Gantt, custodian of church property, received recognition in 
Quarterly Conference Records (30 March 1930) for having given 
many hours of work repairing and improving the church and 
parsonage at no charge to the Church. He had been made a steward in 
1929. The stewards in the records for 1927-1930 expressed their 
appreciation and on 26 July 1930 made him trustee chairman for 
Church property. Mr. Gantt owned and operated a shoe- repair shop on 
Nash Street in Louisburg. He died in 1950. 


On 3 November 1932 the Quarterly Conference Records noted the 
illnesses of L. P Hicks and Mrs. W E. White. On 30 September 1933 
the boards passed a resolution honoring the two, both having died in 
the interval. L. P. Hicks was a merchant who had been a member of the 
board for decades. He was a member of the 
Hicks-Howard-Hodges-Furgurson enclave who had their homes on 
Happy Hill at the east end of Nash Street. Mrs. W E. White was the 
wife of a furniture-store owner. She had been active in the Missionary 
Society and became a member of the boards with the gradual accession 
of women to positions in Church government in the first decades of the 

R. R. Harris, as he was always referred to during his decades of 
service on the boards, was postmaster of the Louisburg post office. He 
died in October 1909 at the age of 63 {Times, 28 October 1909). 
Among his services in the decades preceding the turn of the century 
was maintaining a Sunday school at a rural church. He was twice 
married, and his daughter by his first marriage was Mrs. J. A. Turner, 
also a devoted member of the Church. His second wife was Ina Mann, 
who lived in the house (demolished to make way for the present brick 
parsonage) on Main Street next to the then parsonage. She died in 

James Adolphus Thomas was the editor and owner of the Franklin 
Times. E. H. Davis's statement that he was "known well over the state" 
was proven at the time of his death. The paper quoted tributes to him 
from newspaper after newspaper in the weeks following his death. 
According to the Twin County Echo he was four times vice president of 
the North Carolina Press Association and twice its president. 
According to the same newspaper, he was also, in addition to his service 
to the Church, secretary of his Masonic Lodge (Times, 10 September 
1909). Thomas was 54 at his death. The Honorable E S. Spruill of 
Rocky Mount, formerly of Louisburg, is quoted as saying, "Mr. 
Thomas will be more missed than any man who has lived or died in 
Franklin County in half a century." The Times also printed an extended 
eulogy by then state attorney general and later governor T W Bickett 
(3 September 1909). The Newberne Journal in its comment stated that 
he "gave the best of himself to his community." Josiah W Bailey of 
Raleigh, later a state senator, wrote that Thomas kept the people of 
Franklin County together and on the right track; he loved the 
Democratic party (Times, 29 October 1909). 

Among Thomas' descendants in the Louisburg Methodist Church 
in the 1990s is one of his great grandsons, Joseph A. Pearce, Jr., 
organist and historian. 

Asher E Johnson, who had worked for "Dolly" Thomas for 
thirteen years, bought the paper in December after his death (Times, 17 


December 1909). He also became a trustee of the Louisburg 
Methodist Church. Johnson married Sadie Norman Thomas, the 
daughter of "Dolly" Thomas. Four of his children, Adelaide and 
Elizabeth, with Fred and Asher, Jr., for many years owned and 
operated the Franklin Times. 

The Depression and the Business Milieu 

The depression of the 1930s elicited more comment in the 
Quarterly Conference Records than did the Civil War. Further, the 
church's response to it was described before the word itself was used. In 
the records for 4 January 1931 A. D. Wilcox, P.C., reported that 
Sunday-school work continued "with good attendance and a fine 
spirit." He then proceeded to describe the Sunday school's way of 
celebrating: "The Welfare Christmas tree was as usual a success. Many 
gifts of food, clothing and toys were made to the poor. $18.00 in cash 
was also used in purchasing food for the needy." This may have been, it 
is true, the "usual" Christmas event of pre-crash days; on 16 December 
1928, Minister Daniel Lane reported, "We are having our Christinas 
program, a welfare tree, tonight, in which we are having the children to 
give rather than to receive. These material contributions given in the 
true spirit of Christ go to needy families in and around Louisburg. 
Special services and attention [are being given] all the inmates of our 
fine County Home. The S. S. and Church gave a Thanksgiving offering 
of $50." The Sunday school superintendent reported in the Quarterly 
Conference Records on 20 October 1929 that "In addition to 
supporting an orphan, we have been helping to keep a worthy boy, 
William Joyner in Duke University ($20. per month)." Possibly 
supporting an orphan and a student were the more characteristic forms 
of giving in the previous decade. But in 1931 deprivation was far more 

For the third quarterly conference of 1932 Minister T A. Sykes 
reported that the Sunday school and the League were doing well. 
However, "It would be impossible, I suppose for any preacher in this 
day to say that the work of the Church is ideal. It seems the morale in all 
departments of endeavor is far below normal. The Church is no 
exception. We believe if our people would rally to the Church as they 
should we could render a better service to our God. Some of our people 
are very faithful, others are not. We are praying for a better day." In 
view of the fact that there had been a recent series of meetings with 
large congregations and much interest manifested, it would seem that 
only the "times" can be the explanation for the low morale. But the 
word has not yet been used. 


In the records of the fourth quarterly conference for 1932 on 3 
November, Mr. Sykes applied the term to the times. "This Church in 
common with all others has been hard hit by the depression. Louisburg 
and Franklin County it seems, are in greater distress than almost any 
other community Finances will be woefully and deplorably short along 
all lines. We have fairly good congregations. The sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper is well attended. We have all been abnormally under the 
spell of trying times, neither pastors, or people have done their best for 
which we are all sorry. We look to the future with hopes of a better day. 
May God richly bless Louisburg Church and all its members." 

Beginning in 1933, however, the Rev. O. P Fitzgerald took a 
different tone. There were excellent congregations on Sunday and also 
for mid-week prayer. Repair and renovation was going on, he wrote, 
but the promised report of financial specifics was not entered. On 30 
September 1933 "Our Church is in a most satisfactory spiritual state. 
Large congregations attend the regular services. Our meeting just 
closed was well attended thru-out the week. Our people are in a very 
hopeful and optimistic spirit about the welfare of the Church." The two 
Leagues were thriving, the Sunday school was "almost overcrowded 
with many new college students attending again." "We expect to report 
all finances paid in full at Conference." Roosevelt had not yet been 

New forms of charitable activity were adopted. The Women's 
Missionary Society reported cooperating in a campaign for "Octagon 
Soap wrappers for Orphanages." Although the Mission Study Class 
reported focus on China and "Eastern Women," there was now a 
Christian Social Relations Committee, members of which "have visited 
the jail, the Community Hospital, the County Home, the Convict 
Camp, distributed food and clothing among the needy, visited the sick 
and strangers and sent messages of cheer and love to those in distress 
and sorrow. This Committee has also assisted the negroes in our town 
in some work they were trying to put across." (The wording reflected 
the racial tenor of the times. But at least the assistance was given in the 
unnamed project.) This committee had worked with the YWCA, the 
"PTA Welfare Board," and the Red Cross. Mrs. Fitzgerald 
superintended the work. 

The Missionary Society had always given its attention to orphans, 
to lay visitation, and the financial needs of various departments of the 
North Carolina Conference. But the "times" seem to have resulted in a 
form of social activism directed toward a greater variety of people and 
those specifically deprived by the depression. 

Quarterly Conference Reports are seldom so detailed and 
comprehensive as this one for 30 September 1933. As Minister O. P. 
Fitzgerald was less specific in subsequent reports, his sense of the 


general wellbeing of church and community is hard to substantiate. 
And a Missionary Society report did not appear with each Quarterly 
Conference Report; when they did appear, they were often too general 
to reveal reasons for optimism. 

Nevertheless, responsiveness to conditions of the society at large, in 
part an inheritance of the depression, will appear in church-community 
relations for much of the rest of the century. When largely displaced by 
government programs and prosperity, its form will change (Care and 
Share, the Yolanda Jones Center, etc.). 

This era of the history of this congregation reveals another kind of 
responsiveness of the church to society, one that is complex and hard to 
evaluate. It began with a very different society, as compared to the 
preceding one, for the church to respond to. 

In August 1909 the local paper announced a meeting of the newly 
formed Chamber of Commerce. The first meeting, on 27 August, was a 
success, according to the report; some Church officials and members 
were involved, Frank McKinne, for example, and M. Stuart Davis. 
Clearly the Chamber and the business culture it represented were seen 
as the coming thing, good for everyone. There would be regular 
meetings. On 1 October 1909 the Chamber had a speaker, and just as 
the paper pushed for attendance at the meetings, the Chamber pushed 
Louisburg College. The business culture subsumed the interests of the 
community. On the evidence of various Times accounts, the Chamber 
would have to be restarted from time to time over the course of the 
century; a business association was in action in 1969, and the Jaycees 
were apparendy the most active of these organizations in later decades 

In the years around 1910, further, the Louisburg Baseball 
Association received considerable front-page attention. Organized 
mass entertainment was the coming thing. 

Social life changed its style and form, too. Beginning in the first 
decade of the century, parties and dances were more frequentiy 
reported than religious occasions. For example, on 20 August 1909 the 
paper reported a "german" held in Louisburg. The dance in the opera 
house became the stylish social event; in August 1907 the paper 
reported dances and houseparties in both Louisburg and Henderson. 
These were not, of course, public dances; the paper lists the couples of 
single persons who attended, the stags, and the chaperones. These 
social events were designed for young singles; married people qualified 
only as chaperones. Often the germ an was given in honor of a young 
woman visiting from another town. Such events had occurred before 
the turn of the century, it is true, and for an earlier generation of young 
people, but they took on a different emphasis in the early decades of the 
century. Now there are newcomers; but there is also much overlapping 


of the old-family social figures of the 19th century and the new business 
culture. Under the old system, name and family were understood to 
accord status; now a need developed to formulate distinctions, chief 
among which was being popular with people who were popular. 
Bridge clubs were important and often reported in the Times, one of 
them calling itself the "Smart Set" Bridge Club. Although it would be 
1928 before the country club would arrive, first as a golf course, later as 
a clubhouse and swimming pool (Joyner), these exclusive social events 
suggest its nature and emphases. 

It is not possible to mark a time when the old agrarian society 
became passe and the new business culture became dominant. The 
farm persisted into the age of agribusiness, and business had existed 
with the plantation economy. Because of the continuity of names and 
families in small-town Louisburg, the socio-economic stereotypes of 
aristocracy and bourgeoisie are not accurate to describe the change in 
culture of the town. Nor would the concept of "Babbittry," to refer to 
the personality and character of the businessmen in Sinclair Lewis's 
novel Babbitt, accurately describe the shift in character and emphasis 
for the people wearing the old names and the new character. One 
reason why this is true is the emphasis on education in Louisburg. 
Another is the Southern setting itself. Of course there were merchants 
and bankers in both periods of the town's life. But note that all these 
categories ignore the craftsman, who persisted in the town and was 
significant to the Church: Gantt, for example, who repaired shoes, and 
Hardwick, who operated a machine shop. Further, a person steeped in 
social prejudices formed well before the Civil War would have had 
occasion to complain that "bottom rail had come top" many times 
before these decades of the 20th century, in view of the fact that every 
"level" had its newcomers. What happened was that a new attitude 
prevailed among both old and new inhabitants. 

The shift was taking place in all likelihood when Frank McKinne 
resigned as superintendent of the Sunday school because the men's 
class went its way regardless of the traditional structure of worship in 
the Methodist Sunday school. It would be convenient if he had been 
old-family Louisburg and if the class could be shown to be dominated 
by newcomers. McKinne and his two brothers Malcolm and Dave were 
in fact newcomers to Louisburg from an old family in Princeton NC. 
The three moved first to Goldsboro and then to Louisburg, where they 
owned a hardware store, and became "leaders in financial, commercial 
and merchantile" affairs (Fuller). The wives of David and Frank were 
notably active in the Methodist Church, Mrs. Frank McKinne being 
memorable as the most significant Sunday-school teacher of the early 
decades of the century (Elizabeth Allen and Louise Egerton Passmore, 
both born in the first decade of the century, named her first as the most 



notable and best remembered teacher). But the shift to the business 
culture was taking place even if the stereotypes did not apply. 

The style of worship changed, too. Earlier, when the Church and 
the agrarian society were interlaced and mutually dependent, town 
church members maintained Sunday schools in country churches, and 
when there was no service in town, many townspeople went to the 
churches a few miles out in the county. But as the town became the 
dominant economic unit, the sense of oneness with the churches 
outside town seems to have faded, and few functions are shared with 
the county churches. The automobile made travel easier, but the town 
people rarely went out of town to church. 

As we saw in the case of the Sunday school, mutual dependence of 
business establishment and church resulted in modifications of the old 
style of worship. The larger difference, however, appears in the falling 
away of the passionate response of the communicant to the word. 
According to his inheritance, the 18th- and 19th-century Methodist 
saw himself in terms of his sin and the path he must take to achieve 
forgiveness. That achievement, through the love of Christ, was 
emotionally heightened in such accounts as have come down to us 
(Jesse Lee's was such an experience, overwhelming him as he worked in 
the field in a troubled state of mind). Such passionate conviction gave 
its possesser the faith and the energy needed to face the wilderness and 
the unknown. It supported its possessor in his move from Great Britain 
or Germany to the colonies, from Virginia or Pennsylvania to North 
Carolina, from Louisburg to Nashville, Marietta, or Tuscaloosa. Green 
Hill is an example, moving to Tennessee when he was in his late fifties, 
leaving a prosperous agrarian establishment and facing the founding of 
a new economic unit in a strange and recently opened territory. Even at 
that age, the vigor that had produced his revolutionary activity as well 
as his contribution to Methodism would not allow him to remain 
established in the settled territory without oudet in pioneering, 
evangelism, or revolution. 

This kind of intensity was not needed to open the store in the 
morning and trade with townspeople and farmers. What was needed 
now was the sense of connection and community; one was less on one's 
own in many aspects of one's life; one was surrounded by people, 
except in remote farming communities, where the old styles of worship 
persisted until telephones and automobiles ended isolation. The 
loneliness of the pioneer was replaced by the abundant social contacts 
of the townsman, and the church now laid the groundrules for 
interconnection and created the means of communicating them. Even 
if the inner core of one's being harbored Jesse Lee's distress of mind, 
the evidence of accomplishment by the new definition would appear in 
the form, style, and quality of the perpetual contact with one's 


fellowman. In Louisburg, Green Hill's name persists in the Green Hill 
Country Club. 


Cash, W. J. The Mind of the South. Vintage Books; New York: Random House, 

Fuller, Clint. "Business Association Started in 1961." Franklin Times 100th 
Anniversary Issue . Louisburg NC, 30 July 1970, p. 45. 

. "Some Prominent People of the Past." Franklin Times 100th 

Anniversary Issue . Louisburg NC, 30 July 1970, p. 110. 

The Franklin Times, Louisburg NC. 

Joyner, Kathryn Foster. "History of Green Hill Country Club." Franklin Times 
100th Anniversary Issue . Louisburg NC 30 July 1970, pp. 30-31. 

Parrish, Judy (Mrs. Billy), Librarian, Louisburg College. With other information, 
Mrs. Parrish provided the history of the typed copy of the diary of Anne Thomas Fuller 
in the Louisburg College Library. 

Quarterly Conference Records, Louisburg Methodist Church. 1903-1922, 

Record of Stewards, M. E. Church South, Louisburg, N. C. 1927, 1928, 1929 [to 
May 1930]. 

Willard, George- Anne. Louisburg College Echoes. Louisburg NC: Louisburg 
College, 1988. 


Chapter 6 
Midcentury Expansion: 1940-1970 

The Ministers and the Numbers. The Congregation and World War II. The 
Official Roll. The Crusade for Christ. Activities of the Congregation: 
Committees and Commissions. Work and Study Projects. Building Programs. 
Revivals. Lay Organizations: WSCS, MYT, MM. Recognition. Music: The 
Choirs, the Organ. Gifts. The Scouts. Church School. A Service at Green Hill. 
Names. The Church and the College. 

The 1940s brought World War II, the end of the depression, 
eventually a new economic world: Louisburg College was populous 
with veterans, and once again there was "money in circulation." The 
Church burgeoned in the decades following the war, more strikingly in 
the intense and varied activities of its members than in numbers. In 
general the numbers in these periods increase with the population, but 
they are still hard to interpret: many ministers began their tenure with 
reform of the membership roll. Probably, also, no minister wanted his 
term to end with an appearance of decline. However, dependably, 
membership increased gradually over the decades. 

The Ministers and the Numbers 

During the thirty-year period 1940-1970, eight ministers served 
the Louisburg Methodist Church. They were Forrest D. Hedden, 
1940-1944; J. M. Culbreth, 1944-1947; Allen C. Lee, 1947-1951; 
Ernest R. Clegg, 1951-1954; George W Blount, 1954-1957; Herman 
S. Winberry, 1957-1961; Kelly J. Wilson, Jr., 1961-1966; and 
Norwood L. Jones, 1966-1970. Vassar Jones, 1970-1974, is the 
transitional figure into the 1970-1995 era. In this very lively period of 
the Church's history, the activities of these ministers will appear in 
connection with their programs during the years of their tenure except 
in the cases of Forrest D. Hedden and J. M. Culbreth, the reason being 
that official board records and quarterly conference reports for the 
years 1940-1947 are, at least for the time being, lost to view in the 
Church's archives. 

The membership as reported in Quarterly Conference records in 
1937was403;inl948,485; 1949,480; 1950,497; 1951,517; 1953, 
528; 1954, 556; 1955, 578; 1956, 593; 1957, 599; 1958, 402 (197 


"removed by action of Quarterly Conference"); 1959, 419;1960, 417; 
1961, 421; 1962, 414; 1963, 425; 1964, 436; 1965, 445; 1966, 464; 
1967, 463; 1968, 477; 1972, 470; 1973, 484. Figures for any year 
vary with the time of year of the report and the extent of correction of 
rolls undertaken. 

The Congregation and World War II 

According to the brief history written by the Rev. Norwood Jones 
in the late 1960s, fifty- nine members of the congregation served in the 
armed forces. Indeed, a framed list, hand printed and decorated by an 
American flag in watercolor, presents fifty- nine names. As they are not 
in alphabetical order, it is quite possible that the names were added in 
groups as the members of the congregation enlisted. The ink itself 
indicates that there were at least two separate group entries, ten names 
at the end being perhaps later enlistees. 

One member of the congregation lost his life in the war. He was 
S/C James H. Joyner, who was killed in action in the Normandy 
beachhead of 8 June 1944, one year after his enlistment in the Navy. As 
a small boy he was memorable as a singularly lively and engaging 
youngster visiting his older brother's classroom. The pulpit lamp was 
given by his family in his memory (Jones). He was the younger brother 
of W. Douglas Joyner, who trained in the Navy Pre-Flight School at 
UNC in Chapel Hill in 1943. Douglas became a public-school teacher 
and retired as director of audio-visual and media services for the Wayne 
County schools. Douglas has served in various leadership positions in 
the Louisburg College Alumni Association. 

Perhaps the most notable names were those of Edward E Griffin 
and Hamilton Hobgood. Griffin was a general of the army who saw 
action in the Batrie of the Bulge in Belgium, 1944-1945. After the war 
he practiced law in Louisburg. His wife was Mildred Scott, daughter of 
Julia Pleasants Scott, whose father was W H. Pleasants, the son of that 
newspaper editor and Church trustee active in the Church and town in 
the middle and late 19th century. Of the same family was Francis 

Hamilton Hobgood grew up in the Bunn area and came to 
Louisburg as a lawyer, having obtained his law degree at UNC in 
Chapel Hill. In the army he was active overseas in legal services, and 
upon his return he was elected a judge of the superior court. He was 
perpetually a trustee of the Church. Franklin County honored him by 
naming for him the annex of the courthouse built in the 1990s. His son 
Robert is also a superior-court judge active in the Church. Hamilton 
Hobgood's wife Margaret Stallings was for decades a leader in the 


Church, notably of children and Scout activities. And the names of his 
other two children, Betty, now a teacher in Orange County, and 
Charles, a lawyer, recur in youth group activities. 

Two homes of members of the congregation displayed four red 
stars representing four family members in the armed services. On 
Church Street, in the Beasley household, all four siblings enlisted. 
These were the children of William Lee "Levy" Beasley and Susie 
Macon Beasley Both Beasleys and Macons were Franklin County 
families of long standing; Cranford ("Foots") Beasley, one of the many 
brothers of Levy, was a steward of the Church during these decades, 
and Susie belonged to the same Macon family as Caroline Macon (Mrs. 
Earle) Murphy. (The fact that the four names are not presented 
together on the list again suggests that names were added in at least two 
groups depending on time of enlistment.) The four were: William Lee 
Beasley, Jr., Joseph Macon Beasley, Glen Beasley, and Eleanor Beasley. 
Eleanor, the youngest of the four, entered the Woman's Army Corps; 
she was a registered nurse trained at Duke. After the war she married 
Taylor Dodson, and both were active in the Church during their period 
of residence in Louis burg in the 1950s. William Lee, oldest of the four, 
became a first lieutenant in the Army field artillery; he served in the 
European theater. Joe Macon enlisted in the Navy in a ship-repair unit; 
he served as an electrician on the USS Zeus in the Marshall Islands of 
the South Pacific. Glen was an Army sergeant in the Medical Corp in 
the Pacific. None of the five now lives in Louis burg, but Glen and 
Eleanor have both within the past decade returned to Louisburg 
College for alumni events. After the war, William Lee and Joe Macon 
opened a contracting business in Jacksonville; Glen is an interior 
decorator in Winston Salem. 

A second home displaying four red stars was that of Louis Barnes 
Bowden, Sr., and Emma Rebecca Boswell Bowden. The Bowdens were 
originally a Warren County family who had moved to Louisburg and 
became members of the Church in the 1930s. Of their five children, all 
four boys joined the navy: Palmer Bowden, J. W. Bowden, L. B. Bowden, 
Jr., and O. S. Bowden ("Boswell," as he was known to his schoolmates). 
Louis B. Bowden, Jr., made a career in the navy and returned to 
Louisburg upon retirement; he now (1998) resides on North Main 
Street, and his wife's brother, Herbert Davis, is active with the 
Methodist Men. 

The list includes a number of Louisburg College faculty and 
relatives of members of the administration. Lawrence Patten was a son 
of Dr. Walter Patten, president of Louisburg College, as was Brooks 
Patten, who enlisted as a chaplain. Stanley Patten, also a relative of Dr. 
Walter Patten, was a student at the College in the early 1940s. James 
Byerly taught piano and voice at the College and directed the band. 


When he returned from service he entered the real-estate business in his 
hometown of Lexington NC. He returned to Louisburg College for 
the fiftieth reunion of the class of 1942, which included a band 
reunion. Alumni in 1998 are honoring him by naming for him the 
orchestra pit of the auditorium. Luther Raymond Taff 'was chair of the 
English Department of the College. Upon his return from service, he 
married Virginia Peyatt, teacher of drama and English at the College, 
earned his doctorate in education at UNC, taught in the Department of 
Education of UNC, and resided in Chapel YLiW.John Burwell Woodall 
taught languages at the College; he had earned bachelor's and master's 
degrees from Duke. Upon his return from service he got his Ph.D. in 
history at Columbia University and pursued a career in college 
teaching. His father was Preston D. Woodall of the North Carolina 
Conference, and his parents retired to Louisburg while Burwell taught 
at Louisburg College. Burwell Woodall played the organ for church 
services when the regular organist, Janie (Mrs. Osmond) Yarborough, 
was absent. Woodall's knowlege of French determined his service unit; 
his war experience included parachuting at night into a field in 
Normandy to work with the French Resistance. His brother Preston 
Woodall was also a member of the congregation who enlisted; he was a 
resident of Louisburg for only a short time. John Cameron was the 
coach at the College. During the war he trained in the Navy pre-flight 
school at UNC in Chapel Hill. Like Byerly, Cameron was honored fifty 
years later by his appreciative students of the Louisburg College class of 
1942. By the time of his death in 1995 he had returned on several 
occasions for alumni events. 

At Hodges, Jr., his younger brother John, and his cousins Gary 
Howard, Frank Hicks, and Ernest Furgurson, Jr., were descended from 
the Furgurson who built his house on Happy Hill at the end of Nash 
Street. Gary's mother was Margaret Hicks Howard, Church historian 
at mid -century. John's son Ray in the 1990s maintains his father's 
insurance agency in Louisburg and is a trustee of the Church and of 
Louisburg College, as was his father. Ernest Furgurson, Jr., was the son 
of Ouida (Mrs. Ernest) Furguson, Sunday-school teacher; he became a 
lawyer and practiced in Williamston after the war. Frank Hicks was the 
son of L. P. Hicks, Louisburg merchant. 

Ben T. Holden and his younger broxhcv John Holden were the sons of 
two active church members, trustee Ben T. Holden, lawyer, and his 
wife, who was superintendent of the Sunday school during the 1930s 
and 1940s. Both sons became lawyers, but neither setded in 

Wilson Spivey and Fenner Spivey,Jr, were older and younger sons of 
a long-term sheriff of Franklin County. Fenner worked for a Texas oil 
company until his retirement, when he returned to Louisburg, first to 


live in the family's former home on North Main Street and then to 
occupy a new home near the country club. He and his wife Fran have 
both been active as trustees of the Church. 

Another pair of brothers who served were William Barrow, Jr., and 
Joseph J. Barrow. The Barrow family had long been active in the Church. 
William retired from the Navy, lived in Pensacola FL, and worked in 
real estate. Two Pergerson brothers make a fourth pair: they were 
Douglas Pergerson and Russell Pergerson. The family resided at the Person 
Place, and their father owned a barber shop on Main Street. 

Yet another pair of brothers were Hugh H. Perry, Jr., and his 
younger brother Edgar Lee Perry, grandsons of Nicholas Perry of 
Woodleaf, descendant of Nicholas B. Massenburg. Edgar Lee returned 
to Louisburg and worked in real estate, living with his mother in the 
house next to the Massenburg place. 

William T. Person, Jr., and his brother Glenn Person were a sixth pair 
of brothers from the congregation who enlisted. Billy served in the 
army air corps. Glen married Nancy Carlisle Griffin, daughter of Gen. 
Edward Griffin, and worked for International Harvester in 

Hugh W Perry, Jr., was the son of Gladys Vick (Mrs. Hugh W, Sr.) 
Perry, who was active in the Church. He attended Louisburg College, 
graduated from West Point, pursued a career in the army, retired as a 
colonel, and resided in Florida until his death in 1998. His younger 
brother, John Uzzel Perry, also served in the armed forces. 

Ben Massenburg was a descendant of Nicholas B. Massenburg of 
Woodleaf. Nicholas named one son Benjamin Ballard for a local 
lawyer; Ben Massenburg was his grandson. 

Daniel Miles McFarland was a son of Frances Smithwick and a 
grandson of Dr. Daniel T Smithwick, local dentist and trustee of the 
Church, as was his wife, Evelyn Macon Smithwick. His father, Francis 
McFarland, was a member of the North Carolina Conference. Dan 
lived with his grandparents while attending Louisburg College. After 
service in the army he completed his bachelor's at UNC Chapel Hill 
and got his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. He taught first at 
Barton (then Adantic Christian) College in Wilson and then at James 
Madison University in Virginia, from which he retired. Dan died 1 
January 1999. 

Edward Lee Best, Jr., was a descendant of the 
Shine-Malone-Hill-Fuller connection. After serving as town clerk, E. 
L. Best succeeded Mortimer T Harris as post master. 

Thomas Cheatham Alston, Jr., a grandson of "Captain Phil" Alston, a 
Louisburg notable of a Warren County family, was a teacher in the 
North Carolina public schools. Eaton Holden was the son of Sid 


Holden, who came to Louisburg from Youngs ville. Eaton is the 
brother of Margaret Holden Freeman and the uncle of Martha 
Freeman (Mrs. Charles) Davis. Eaton's work is interior decoration in 
New York City. Hubert Harris was the brother of Betty Harris (Mrs. 
Warren) Smith. Adversely affected by his war experiences, Hubert died 
in early middle-age, having worked in the meantime for Pleasants' drug 
store. Dayton Hardwick was the son of the owner of a machine shop at 
Church and Nash streets; after service in the Navy during the war he 
became a labor-union representative. Allen Cobb, whose mother was 
Alba Allen, a daughter of Will Allen, became district attorney for New 
Hanover County NC. James E. Finch was the son of Marguerite Finch 
Spencer, who operated a Louisburg beauty shop. 

Lee Johnson was owner/manager of the Western Auto in Louisburg. 
His widow and daughter Mary Lee Johnson Rose reside in Louisburg 
in 1998. William H. "Bill" Herman was a younger son of Fred L. 
Herman, manager of a bottiing plant. Grover Harris, Jr., the son of the 
warehouse owner, managed the movie theatre. Hunter Harris , brother 
of two locally well-known Louisburg citizens, Jessie Taylor Harris and 
"Buck" Harris, was a career army man who retired as a colonel. Marion 
Grainger, Jr. ("Bud"), was the son of Mrs. Elizabeth Morton Grainger. 
William Andrews, Jr., ("Billy"), whose mother was active in the Church, 
moved away from Louisburg after the wax. Jack Taylor practiced law in 
Louisburg, married "Cricket" Collier, and died suddenly in middle age. 
David Spivey, who belonged to the National Guard at the outbreak of 
the war, pursued an army career, retired at 38 as a colonel, and resided 
in Washington NC. He was the brother of Betsy Lavender, who filled 
several church offices before her death in 1968. Atwood Newell lived in 
Ashboro after the war. Karl M. Allen, the brother of James and 
Stapleton Allen, married Grace Pruitt and worked in Louisburg for the 
Pruitt Lumber Company. 

The Official Roll 

The Church conference (whether annual or fourth quarterly is not 
noted) held 27 September 1949 yields the official roll for the year. The 
minister was Rev. Allen C. Lee, Rev E. H. Davis was retired minister, 
and Dr. T C. Amick was lay preacher. Dr. Amick taught math at 
Louisburg College. 

Stewards in 1949 were Hamilton Hobgood, J. A. Hodges (father 
of John, who will soon appear on the roll), S. M. Holton (president of 
Louisburg College), Cary M. Howard (of the 
Furgurson-Hicks-Howard-Hodges clan; his wife was historian), Betty 
Boddie (Mrs. J. W) Mann (she was also custodian of legal papers), S. 


C. Mattox (manager of Leggetts department story, married to Jean 
Fleming, daughter of a former College teacher), Roger Mitchell (who 
would for years be in charge of building maintenance and grounds, 
succeeding J. R. Gantt, who died in 1950), W. J. Benton (owner of a 
furniture store; his wife Betsy sang in the choir until the early 1990's), 
George Davis (son of E. H. Davis; employed by the state in Durham), 
Edward F. Griffin (retired general of the army), Grover C. Harris, Sr., 
Harvey R. Strother (U.S. mail carrier active in the Church for decades; 
he died in the early 1990s), Ernest Thomas (Franklin Times manager 
under Asher Johnson; grandson of "Dolly Thomas," 19th-century 
editor and owner), Archibald N. Wilson. 

Trustees were Cranford M. "Foots" Beasley (uncle of the four 
WWII Beasley enlistees), Lucy Burt (county welfare director, daughter 
of Dr. S. P. Burt), F. L. Herman (manager of a bottling company), W 
E. Murphy, Jr., Marguerite (Mrs. Samuel M.) Washington, Mamie 
(Mrs. Ben) Williamson, and L. M. Word. Trustees whose terms were 
expiring were R. A. Bailey (electrician, husband of Gladys Beam), Dr. 
Samuel Perry Burt (county health officer), F. D. Culpepper (pharmacist 
in Boddie's Drug Store), M. S. Davis ("Reserve Lay Member"), 
Maurice C. Murphy (owner of Murphy^s Grocery Store), A. W Person 
(cotton broker), R. W Smithwick (manager of Rose's Five and Ten, 
son of Dr. D. T Smithwick), and Dan Bowers of Louisburg College. 

President of the Woman's Society for Christian Service was Loulia 
Jarman (teacher of the seventh grade in the then Mills High School); 
communion steward was Mrs. S. J. Parham (daughter of Annie Fuller 
and Dr. J. E. Malone). Head of the Wesleyan Service Guild was Mrs. 
Genevieve Perry (College treasurer), and church-school superintendent 
was Mrs. M. L. Rowland (wife of the superintendent of schools for 
Franklin County). 

The "Required Boards and Committees" were occupied as follows: 
Church Board of Education: S. M. Holton, Hamilton Hobgood, Ruth 
Jenkins (Mrs. E. L.) Best, Jr., Taylor (Mrs. Joseph) Pearce, M. L. 
Rowland, B. B. Massenburg, Rev. Dan Bowers, Mrs. A. C. Lee, and 
Mrs. Arch Wilson. Church Board of Missions and Church Extension: I. 

D. Moon (choir director; College professor of voice and other 
subjects), M. S. Davis, John York (dean at Louisburg College), Loulia 
Jarman, Mrs. Genevieve Perry. Membership and Evangelism 
Committee: M. L. Rowland, Marguerite Washington, and H. R. 
Strother. Finance Committee: M. C. Murphy, A. W Person, and 
George Davis. Committee on Pastoral Relations: A. L. Hodges, A. N. 
Wilson, and E. E Griffin. Committee on Christian Stewardship: Dr. D. 
T Smithwick (dentist, county historian), Roger Mitchell, and M. C. 
Murphy (grocery-store owner). Committee on Audit: George Davis, 
W J. Benton, and S. C. Mattox. Committee on Records and History: 


Loulia Jarman, Helen Smithwick, Virginia Foster. Committee on 
Hospitals and Homes: Lucy Burt, Mrs. A. W. Andrews; Mrs. F. D. 
Culpepper. Committee on Cooperation: Mrs. B. B. Massenburg, 
Alberta Davis (daughter of E. H. Davis; teacher of sixth grade at Mills 
School), Mrs. W. C. Boyce. 

Ten committees remain to be listed. Committee on Visitation: 
Maude (Mrs. A. L.) Hodges; R. A. Bailey; H. R. Strother, Virginia 
Pleasants, Ruth (Mrs. Ernest) Thomas, B. B. Massenburg, Margaret 
(Mrs. Cary. M.) Howard, Mrs. Betty Mann, M. C. Murphy. Committee 
on Temperance: Grover C. Harris, Lee Johnson, R. W Knott. Music 
Committee: I. D. Moon, Janie (Mrs. Osmond) Yarborough, Ruth 
(Mrs. Edward Lee, Jr.) Best. Parsonage Committee: M. C. Murphy, 
Ruth (Mrs. Ernest) Thomas, Susie Meadows. Committee on Church 
Property: Roger Mitchell, M. S. Davis, A. N. Wilson. Committee on 
World Peace: Mrs. A. N. Wilson, Mrs. George Davis, Mrs. D. E. 
Hardwick. Committee on Good Literature: Ruth Merritt (Professor of 
English at Louisburg College), Nellie (Mrs. I. D.) Moon (teacher of 
home economics at Louisburg College), Mrs. T C. Amick. Committee 
on Poor Relief: Lucy Burt, C. M. Howard, Alberta Davis. Ushers: 
Ernest F. Thomas. Nominating Committee (submitting the foregoing 
report): C. M. Howard, S. C. Mattox, F. D. Culpepper. 

E. F. Griffin was recording steward. 

At the conference held 26 September 1950, there were few 
additions. M. S. Davis was a steward as well as a trustee. Joseph A. 
Pearce, R. A. Bailey, Myron Pleasants, and W L. Beasley (father of the 
enlisted four) are added, and Mildred Watters (Mrs. James E.) Malone 
replaces her sister-in-law Mrs. Parham as communion steward. 
Caroline Macon (Mrs. Earle) Murphy and Mrs. Wyatt Thayer appear 
among committee members. 

The quarterly conference of 10 September 1951 added as stewards 
Earle Murphy (postal employee), R. A. Bailey, Lee Johnson (Western 
Auto store manager/owner), I. D. Moon, Herman Murphy (owner of 
the Murphy House restaurant ), D. E McKinne, M. M. Person, Jr., and 
Myron Pleasants. Nellie (Mrs. I. D.) Moon was head of the Wesleyan 
Guild. New among committee members were Mary Burt (Mrs. 
Maurice M.) Person (Education), Virginia Pleasants, and Evelyn 
Jenkins (Mrs. John) Williamson. 

New for 1952 were stewards John Hodges, James Malone, Evelyn 
Williamson, and Mrs. Roger Mitchell. Cathryne Woodlief was 
president of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. On the four 
commissions, new names are Emily Partin, Mrs. Edward Carlyle, 
Phyllis Bailey, A. C. Ball, Eleanor Beasley (Mrs. Taylor) Dodson, Miss 
Carrie Wagstaff, R. W Knott, and Mrs. John Lloyd (wife of the 
doctor). Susie Meadows appears on committees the following year. 


Additions to the stewards in 1953 were Roger A. Kornegay, whose 
wife taught art at the College, Dr. John Lloyd, Robert L. Andrews, and 
Eleanor Beasley (Mrs. Taylor) Dodson. George High and Lonnie 
Shuping were new on the board in 1954, and Nina Oakley was M.Y.F. 
president. 1955 added the names of W W Thayer (lumber dealer), L. 
K. Thompson, and on the commissions Anna Green Partin, Buddy 
Thayer, with Carolyn Pergerson for the M.Y.F. and John R. Shillinglaw 
for the education commission. Among the ushers new names 
appeared: R. Jones Beasley (again, an uncle of the four), Charles G. 
Oakley, H. Edward Carlyle, Hoke Steelman, D. C. Day, Dr. B. L. 
Patterson, Dr. A. J. Hoi ton, and Allen Shearin. On committees new 
names were Herman Spencer, Mrs. L. K. Thompson, Mrs. B. L. 
Patterson, and Mrs. Tom Wilson. 

1956 brought Darrell Perry, Charles E. Ford, and Dr. Taylor 
Dodson, as stewards; Patricia Wilson as president of the M.Y.F; and on 
the commissions, Warren W Smith ( super intendant of schools). Pastor 
Advisory Stewards were Rev. Wade Goldston of the College and Dr. 
Cecil Robbins, president of the College. Linda Wilson (later Cottrell) 
was M.Y.F. president, then Susan Hill Blount; and on missions Frances 
(Mrs. Wilbur G.) McFarland (daughter of Dr. D. T Smithwick, widow 
of a Methodist minister). Neva (Mrs. Festus) Fuller appeared on the 
parsonage committee and as ushers L. C. Hasty, C. Robert Benton, 
William Ariail, Frank Rose, Reid Ford, Buddy Thayer, and Jack Avent. 

In 1957 J. B. Hight was added as a steward; he was the contractor 
for the new fellowship hall. Also added were James S. Sanders of Gold 
Sand, Robert M. Hicks (later Sunday-school superintendant), Horace 
Kerman as president of the men's club, and the Rev. Walter McDonald 
of Louisburg College as advisory steward. Maria Gupton was M.Y.F. 
president. James L. Ivey became chairman of the adult division of the 
Education Commission. The committees added Joyce (Mrs. Walter) 
McDonald (in music), and Virginia Pleasants. 

In 1960 Nellie (Mrs. I. D.) Moon joined the stewards, Betty 
Hobgood was president of the M.Y.F, and Margaret (Mrs. Hamilton 
H.) Hobgood headed the M.Y.A.F 

In 1961 the stewards added Mollie (Mrs. Morise) Evans, Ludie 
(Mrs. J. B.) Hight, Umphrey Lee (Professor of English at Louisburg 
College, husband of Rose Malone, who was daughter of Edwin H. 
Malone, long a trustee), Lee Furr, Robert Sutton, William Wilson, 
Frank Mitchell, Charles Fuller, Francis Pleasants, Wilson Clay, Russell 
Pergerson, and Dr. Marvin Pleasants (dentist). Anna Fuller Parham 
(Mrs. N. A.) Sinclair became communion steward, Olga (Mrs. James) 
Ivey chair of evangelism, and Dr. Gunter Sommer (Religion 
Department of Louisburg College) was an "other Methodist 
minister"). To the commissions were added Mrs. Louise Pruitt, 


Virginia (Mrs. William T.) Dement, Roland Home (College staff), 
Sarah Richardson (College staff), Freddie Johson, Jones Parham, and 
Margaret Wheless. Also to the commissions were added Mrs. Wayne 
Benton, Mrs. Norman Chadwick, Mrs. Helen Grant Stephenson, Mrs. 
Cecil Robbins, Norman Chadwick, and Flora (Mrs. Allen) DeHart, all 
of the College. To the committees were added Margaret Holden (Mrs. 
Numa) Freeman, Mrs. Frank Mitchell, and Mrs. Dorothy Clay. 

In 1962 the president of the M.Y.F. was Robert Hobgood, and new 
names on the commissions were Mrs. C. H. Trotter, F. L. Herman, 
Mrs. Jim Terry, Mrs. W T Dement, Mrs. Norman Chadwick, Mrs. 
Caroline Murphy, and Bob Andrews. 

Bob Andrews became a steward in 1963, and Mary Anne (Mrs. M. 
M., Jr.) Person was president of the WS.C.S. In 1965 Betsy Lavender, 
Dennis Saunders, and William Beckham were added to the stewards, 
and to the comissions Mrs. R. A. Bailey and David Daniel (minister, of 
the College). Beth McDonald was president of the M.Y.F. In 1966 J. H. 
Ihrie III, Robert Butler (College) and Grady Snider (College) appear 
among the stewards, on the commissions Mrs. W W Smith, and on the 
committees Robert John Versteeg (drama professor at Louisburg 
College; resident minister). Gertrude Winston was president of the 
Wesleyan Service Guild, Matt Person of the M.Y.F. 

Captain James H. Brown of Louisburg College joined the Official 
Board in 1967 with Mrs. Wilson Clay, Margaret (Mrs. CM.) Howard, 
Mrs. Anne Hutchinson, William Nagle, Stillman Scott, and Betty 
(Mrs. Warren) Smith. New names on the board in 1970 were Evelyn 
(Mrs. John) Williamson, James A. Williams, Virginia Southerland, 
James R. Grady, Nathan Cole (retired army captain; first wife was 
Virginia Howard), and Thomas Riggan (principal of Louisburg High 
School). Cynthia Shillinglaw was youth representative on the Council 
of Ministries, and Rev Russell Stott was added to the committees. 

In 1973 the list of nominees for Church offices included the 
following new names: Ivey Bolton, Mary Bryant, Alicia (Mrs. Robert) 
Butler, Linda Wilson (Mrs. James B.) Cottrell, Martha (Mrs. Charles 
M.) Davis, Kenneth Davis, Edith M. (Mrs. Kenneth) Davis, Craig 
Eller, Mrs. Vivian Fuller, Mildred Scott (Mrs. Edward) Griffin, Mrs. 
Grover C. Harris, Dean Holton, James Lanier (College 
administration), Eugenia May, Mrs. J. B. Perdue, Dr. Mac Ricketts 
(Professor of Religion, College), Mrs. Mac Ricketts, Donald R. 
Richardson (College), Dr. William Rose (veterinarian), Mrs. Dennis 
R. Saunders, John Smith, Mrs. Sidney Stafford, J. Russell Versteeg 
(youth member of Council on Ministries), John R. Watson, Mrs. Frank 
Wheless, B. N. Williamson, Jr., John P. Williamson, Jr., and Mrs. Hugh 
H. Wilson. 


This list is an attempt to present the names of people who held 
Church office during this period. It is necessarily inaccurate: the 
records are incomplete; the method of compilation was comparison of 
Official Board lists to note additions rather than reprinting each annual 
report. Official rolls for earlier periods covered by the history may be 
more accurate because they involve fewer names. 

The Crusade for Christ 

The Church's themes for the immediate post-war decades are 
revealed in the "Crusade for Christ," a four-year program adopted for 
the Methodist Church by the General Conference of 1944. The 
movement grew out of the "Crusade for a New World Order," which 
the hierarchy of the Methodist Church in general and the Bishops' 
Council in particular formed in 1942 to seek a path for action in 
response to the perception that "Never before has so much sorrow, 
desolation and utter destruction come to so many people" (Leiffer, p. 
518). After "much searching of the heart among Christians as to what 
the church must do to meet the need and challenge of this time," the 
Crusade embodied the Church's response and its expectations 
concerning the post-war world (Franklin Times, 26 January 1945). The 
program had five objectives: First, it was to raise $25,000,000 for 
world relief and reconstruction to be used to assist the hungry and 
homeless, to reconstruct mission property destroyed in the war, and to 
meet the needs of shifting populations and other post-war conditions 
in our own country. The Louisburg Methodist Church was to raise 

The second objective was to continue the effort begun in the 
Crusade for a New World Order "to write Christian principles into the 
peace settlement." The third objective was to renew the emphasis on 
evangelism. "Evangelism is the growth of God's kingdom here on 
earth. . . . Evangelism is the principle business of the Christian 
Church." Education for stewardship was the fourth objective: "to lead 
us to interpret life as a trust from God to be used in his service." And 
the fifth objective was to increase enrollment and attendance in the 
church schools. 

The Crusade was "opened in this church" on Sunday, 4 February 
1945, and the Crusade Council members were listed in the Times 
account. Chairman was Dr. Walter Patten, President of Louisburg 
College. Secretary was Helen Smithwick. Members of the Council 
were William C. Stroud, principal of Mills High School; I. D. Moon of 
the College faculty; V R. Kilby of the College faculty, Mrs. Ben T 
Holden, long superintendent of the church school, E D. Culpepper, 


pharmacist, and Pastor J. Martin Culbreth. The committees of the 
Crusade were Finance, Evangelism, Stewardship, Church School, and 
Publicity; their members were W. C. Stroud, Lillie Mae Braxton 
(County Extension Service head), F. D. Culpepper, H. R. Strother, E. 
F. Thomas, A. W. Person, Marguerite (Mrs. S. M.) Washington, 
Festus M. Fuller, Mrs. Walter Patten, Caroline (Mrs Earle) Murphy, 
May Holmes (Mrs. M. S.) Davis, Mildred (Mrs. James E.) Malone, I. 
D. Moon, Mrs. E. F. Thomas, Mary belle (Mrs. George) Davis, Mrs. L. 
V. Woodleif, V. R. Kilby, T. C. Amick, and Ruth Merritt. Ten teams 
of two persons each were to visit the membership of the Church to raise 

The success of the Crusade resulted in an expansion of its goals. By 
1960 the quadrennial programs had such diverse and far-reaching 
emphases that they were seen as encompassing every conceivable goal 
of the Church (Leiffer). Evangelistic and ecumenical emphases 
predominated, for example, "evangelistic outreach by personal 
witness" and "working for world peace." In 1948 the second 
quadrennial program was called "Advance for Christ and His Church." 
According to this program the individual congregation chose the 
specific "Advance Special" opportunities for donations. 

The printed form filled out by the Louisburg church's Commission 
on Missions ("Prepared and edited by the Council on World Service 
and Finance") first asked whether the commission had "studied the 
missionary program of the General and Conference Boards of 
Missions" in order to choose projects and next asked what "Advance 
specials" this church had assumed. For the period October 1955 to 
April 1956, Carrie Wagstaff, chair of the commission, listed as Advance 
specials: "College in Alaska $20. Student Day $10. Race Relations 
$10. Advance special directed by District superintendent $15. 
Havelock Meth. Church $30." A Methodist college in Alaska persisted 
as an object of contributions from the Louisburg church. On 7 March 
1957 the Commission on Social Concerns, illustrating the continued 
concern for world order and relief of suffering, listed among its goals 
world peace and social and economic relations (family, recreation, and 
"economic welfare of Louisburg citizens"). Pastor Herman Winberry 
commended the members of this commission for their work. 

In the minutes of the official board for 23 October 1956, the 
secretary, Ruth (Mrs. E. F.) Thomas, wrote that Pastor George S. 
Blount "announced that the program of the Methodist Church at large 
for the next four years will place special emphasis on the Local Church 
and Higher Education." This emphasis occurs, however, after more 
than a decade of stressing ecumenical and evangelistic causes as 
represented in the advance specials and the crusades. So successful had 
been these crusades that attention, as Blount reported, could now turn 


homeward. On 22 January 1957 this emphasis was the subject of a 
"discourse" by the Rev. R. Grady Dawson, District Superintendent, 
who then congratulated the board on having obtained Bishop 
Cushman to conduct "our season of evangelistic services on April 7th 

The mimeographed Louisburg church budget for 1957-58, 
following "Ministerial Support," which is the main item of 
expenditure, lists Benevolences as the second category. World Service 
and Conference Benevolences include the Methodist Home for 
Children ("7% of the money raised by our Church for the year 195 1-52 
. . . goes to the Children's Home. We care for over 200 children.") 
$650; Church Extension ("building of new churches in areas where 
they are required because of population shifts") $362; College 
Sustaining Fund ("8% ... to give a slight increase in salaries of college 
teachers in Church colleges") $675; Conference Youth Camps $119; 
Golden Cross ("hospital care for Methodist people") $119; Methodist 
Retirement Home $199; World Service ("60 % ... to our conference 
agencies; 40% ... to seventeen General World Services Agencies") 
$600. Total of the above, $2724. The Mission specials, Minimum 
Salary Fund, and District Work bring the total benevolences to $3238. 
(The budget print-out for 1960-1961 contains the same categories.) 

Category III of the budget is "Our Local Parrish" — the non 
ministerial expenses of the Church. The grand total of all expenses was 
$12,196. Benevolences tend to look homeward, but World Service, 
though diminished, is built in. For example, on a multilithed statement 
of goals, undated but filed with 1957 building plans, local concerns 
predominate. First comes "Freedom from Alcohol," with reference to a 
Blueprint for Temperance Action. Second is World Peace (formation of 
an active peace committee and periodic propaganda such as films, 
literature, and speakers). Third is Social and Economic Relations, 
stressing family life, recreation, and economic welfare of Louisburg 
citizens. Fourth and last is Health and Welfare, stressing cooperation 
with the P.T.A. in feeding school children, working with the local 
welfare agency in securing boarding homes for adults and children, and 
improving the shut-in program. 

Similar proportions appear in a balance sheet dated June 1 - April 
30, 1971, which lists receipts for the following conference specials: 
Kerr Lake, Reconciliation, Peruvian, Christmas Special, World 
Communion, Race Relations, One Great Hour of Sharing, and Liquor 
by the Drink. 

Thus the activities that grew out of World War II dominated the 
Church's program for more than a decade. Gradually, local concerns 
took the forefront in the extraordinary activity of the congregation as 
reported in church records of the period. 


Activities of the Congregation 

Committees and Commissions. In 1947 the official printed forms 
supplied by the Conference for the reporting of quarterly conferences 
called for a listing not only of those who filled the offices of the church 
but also for the chairs of committees. In 1949 the request was for those 
who filled "Required Boards and Committees." In 1951-1952 these 
boards were two: Board of Education and Board of Missions and 
Church Extension. The committees were Membership and 
Evangelism, Finance, Pastoral Relations, Christian Stewardship, 
Nominations, Audit, Records and History, Hospitals and Homes, and 
Cooperation. (There were more than a dozen optional committees.) 

Reorganization of these committees was evident in 1953-1954, 
when the official form first called for "Required Commissions." The 
four commissions were the Commission on Membership and 
Evangelism, the Commission on Education, the Commission on 
Missions, and the Commission on Finance. Committees were listed as 
Nominations, Audit, and Pastor Relations. Under "Optional 
Commissions" the church simply listed committees, which were 
numerous. In 1961 two commissions were added: Christian Social 
Concerns, and Worship. The commissions persisted until 1970, when 
the term "work area" appeared and the official board was divided into 
the administrative board and the council of ministries. The "work 
areas" listed in Official Board records in 1970 were approximately the 
old commissions: Ecumenical, Education, Evangelism, Missions, 
Social Concerns, Stewardship, and Worship. 

Work and Study Projects. Sunday 2 December 1945 was Family Day 
in the Louisburg Methodist Church. The goal was "to have our families 
represented one hundred per cent in the Morning Worship." Families 
sat together, and communion was offered by the minister, J. Marvin 
Culbreth {Franklin Times, 20 November 1945). 

Concern for worldwide suffering demonstrated in the Crusade for 
Christ appears at times dominant, but it did not displace interest in the 
spiritual condition of the parishioner. Pastor Allen C. Lee's report 
indicates that the Methodist Sunday Evening Fellowship, instituted in 
late 1949, studied the subject of "Learning to Live by Faith" between 
November 1949 and June 1950. Simultaneously, on 1 November 1949 
the treasurer's report lists support of the "World Service Sustentation 
Fund," Overseas Relief, and "Suffering and Service." And in June 
1952, the Woman's Society for Christian Service offered four study 
classes, two of which were on Africa. While thev sent clothes to Korea, 


they also offered services at the "County Home" (Franklin County 
Home for the Aged and Indigent). Ernest R. Clegg was pastor. 

The WSCS listed five "courses studied" on the official report form 
for June 1953 to May 1954: Jeremiah, Life and Task of the Church 
around the World, Spanish Speaking Americans, Alcohol, and 
Heritage and Destiny. The Commission on Missions, responding to a 
question on the official report form concerning "projects for 
Christianizing the total life of the community," indicated that the 
Commission had "made a survey and participated in visitation" in 
1953-1954. Mary Anne (Mrs. M. M., Jr.) Person was the chair making 
both reports. Alcohol, evangelism, community life, other countries and 
cultures, "Indian Americans," and eventually drugs recurred. A 
socio-economic theme appears in 1955: Christianity and Wealth, and 
God, Man, and the City. 

In January 1956 Pastor George Blount taught "a class for teachers 
and workers in personal evangelism" on Sunday afternoons. Race 
Relations Sunday was observed. In August 1956 Professor Walter 
McDonald, new at Louisburg College, offered a New Testament 
course on Wednesday evenings. A missionary from Africa spoke in 
1957, and the church took an offering for Hungarian relief during that 
country^ revolt against the Soviet Union. In May 1960 the WSCS 
studied Luke, Africa, and the UN, with a guest speaker on the United 
Nations. In January 1962 Pastor Kelly Wilson arranged special 
programs on South America each Sunday night for a month. In April 
1962 a Spanish fiesta was directed by Flora B. De Hart of the 
Louisburg College English Department, with Prof. Wagner, Spanish 
professor at Louisburg College, as speaker. Other study projects were 
Christian Missions in Southeast Asia, the working of the Methodist 
Church at the UN, and handicapped persons. In May 1962 the 
Commission on Missions reported that Rev. Wade Goldston of 
Louisburg College had offered two sessions on the meaning of 

Along with concern for other countries (Angola, Algeria, Japan, 
etc.), race relations, alchoholism, civil defense, the "Prisons and Parole 
Programs," handicapped persons, and the "working of the Methodist 
Church at the UN," Franklin County was an object of concern. The 
Social Concerns Commissions set as a goal "Personal Work and help to 
those in any manner of distress and unhappiness in this community." In 
1968 affluence and poverty as a Christian dilemma prompted a series of 
presentations by the Missions Commission, including a panel 
moderated by Mary Anne (Mrs. M. M., Jr.) Person on Gordon and 
Gun trier's book The Split Level Trap. During a period of intense activity 
by the Social Concerns Commission, Robert Butler, of Louisburg 


College, was chair and Lucy Burt was vice-chair. The pastor was 
Norwood Jones. 

Two series of Sunday-night services reveal the level and nature of 
the concerns of the congregation. In 1957 Minister Herman Winberry 
described a series of four programs at which attendance ranged from "a 
low of 42 to a high of 1 3 1 ." Those offering the programs were Dr. John 
Carlton of Duke Divinity School; Dr. Cecil W Robbins, president of 
Louisburg College; the Louisburg College Glee Club; Rev. Linwood 
Blackburn, Missionary to Africa; and the Rev. Gunter Sommer, 
professor of religion at Louisburg College. In 1968, on four Sunday 
nights in February during the tenure of Norwood Jones, the 
Commission on Missions (Zelda Coor of Louisburg College was chair) 
offered the Reverend John Allen of Epsom on the ecumenical 
movement; a panel discussion moderated by Roland Home of 
Louisburg College on the subjects of church and state, with General 
Edward E Griffin; church and community, with local attorney Charles 
Davis; and the church and the individual with Wayne Benton and 
Norwood Jones; an MYF reading of a play Drum, Hammer, and Cross, 
by Verne Rossman, on three movements in Japan — Christianity, 
communism, and Soka Gakkai; and a discussion by Dr. Cortiand Smith 
of Louisburg College on Japan, its traditions, customs, and recent 
changes. ("Dr. Smith spent three years in Japan as a chaplain with the 
U.S. Armed Forces.") Films on the major denominations in the United 
States were shown as a "foundation for dialog." 

These work and study projects are intended as representative of 
about twenty years of the Church's concerns and pursuits. Yet even 
these seem inadequate to suggest the intense activity and 
purposefulness of the congregation during this period. Further subjects 
of concern were sex education, the Viet Nam war (Wayne Benton of 
Louisburg College spoke), and "compliance with the law concerning 
integration" (school-board attorney Edward E Yarborough spoke). 
The Church supported a mental-health center then being established in 
Franklin County ("A survey has shown that Franklin County is first in 
the number of patients in the State Hospitals, and it is second in the 
number of alcoholics being treated") as well as the migrant ministry of 
the North Carolina Council of Churches. In 1962 L. C. Hasty led an 
audio- visual workshop. In addition to showing films, the Church went 
on the radio. "Advance Specials" persisted from the crusades of the late 
1940s. A subcommittee on "Evangelism in Depth" promoted 
rededication to Christ. 

The work of pastors in ministerial organizations is noteworthy as 
well. Pastor Herman Winberry attended a nine-day ministers' clinic at 
Duke in the spring of 1958. Norwood Jones functioned as secretary to 
the Conference Board of Pensions, Chairman of the Emerging Aid 


Fund, and Vice-Chairman of the Conference Brotherhood. Minister 
Jones also conducted a revival at Hill-King Memorial Methodist 
Church in October 1967. Kelly Wilson, Jr., attended the Institute of 
Higher Education at Vanderbilt University in the summer of 1961 
plus the "conference program of Evangelism at Louisburg College." In 
1962 he was director of Family Life Education for District 1. He and 
Mrs. Wilson attended the National Conference on Family Life in 
Chicago in October. He was also state Family Life Committee 
Chairman. Mr. Wilson in 1965 spent a week at a "Jurisdictional 
conference on the Adult Education Program preparing a new 
curriculum in adult education." He taught at two Christian Workers 5 
Schools, in Durham and Charleston, South Carolina, and spoke at the 
North Carolina Family Life Council in Charlotte, a "Christian Family 
Faces Family Problems" conference in Durham, and the Conference on 
Family Life in Charleston, South Carolina. Vassar Jones was a member 
of the Board of Trustees for SEMAR (Southeastern Methodist Agency 
for the Retarded) and the Conference Division of Health and Welfare 
Ministeries. He was also Chairman of the Franklin County Council on 
Mental Retardation and Committee on Aging. 

Building Programs. In the 1950s and again in the 1960s the Church 
undertook to erect significant new structures. The two projects were 
conceived as part of one large undertaking, and planning began on 10 
October 1954, when the congregation "voted, with no dissenting 
votes, to undertake a building program which would include a new 
church school building and a new parsonage." On 30 January 1955 at a 
quarterly conference the Church authorized the trustees and building 
committee to proceed with the program. On 13 November 1955 the 
cost estimate was $68,000, and a quarterly conference on Sunday 11 
March 1956 authorized application to the Board of Missions of the 
annual conference for financial assistance in the program amounting to 
$8,000 over a period of four years. 

The Building Fund "moved along slowly," Pastor Blount reported 
in 1956, and the Woman's Society for Christian Service held a harvest 
festival for the fund in the fall of 1956. Demolition of the 1912 
building began 27 March 1957; Sunday school met at the College 
during the period. The architect was Charles Davis of Raleigh. The 
groundbreaking ceremony took place 26 March 1957 at 2:00 in the 
afternoon under Rev. R. Grady Dawson, District Superintendent, and 
Pastor Blount. "Little Joe Pearce" represented the children of the 
church, Patricia Wilson of the MYF the youth, and George Murphy, 
"one of the church's most loyal members," the adults. Some eight 
committees planned and executed die work. On 23 September 1957, as 
the building progressed, minister Herman Winberry praised three 


people for work on the Educational Annex: Eleanor Dodson, Arch 
Wilson, and Roger Mitchell, whom he described as saints, suitable 
contemporaries for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In 1958 the sum of 
$40,000 was borrowed for the education building. 

Although George Blount had been reassigned to a Raleigh church 
in 1957, he and his wife made a contribution to the annex in 1962. On 
27 July 1964 the Fellowship Hall was dedicated in honor of the 
Reverend Mr. Blount. 

A new parsonage, agreed upon by the congregation in 1954, was 
already in progress. In February 1958 a fact-finding committee was 
appointed to report on parsonage living conditions with John Hodges 
as chair. In May 1960 the house and lot next to the old parsonage, 
known as the Detter property, were bought for $6,000. There was 
available a bequest from Ernest W Furgurson, Sr., for $1,000 to be 
used for a new parsonage. Demolition of the old structures began in 
May, the minister, Kelly J. Wilson, Jr., and his family occupying a rented 
house, 107 North Elm Street, for the construction period. The 
contractor was a member of the congregation, J. B. Hight, the architect 
was James B. Edwards, and the cost was estimated at $24,724. M. M. 
Person, Jr., was chairman of the building committee. An Advanced 
Gifts Committee was appointed to work toward the financing of the 
new parsonage, according to official board records for 23 October 
1961, consisting of the following: M. C. Murphy, M. M. Person, Jr., 
Umphrey Lee, Rev Wade Goldston, Lucy Burt, Alba (Mrs. G. W) 
Cobb, Marguerite (Mrs. Sam) Washington, Betty (Mrs. J. W) Mann, 
Russell Pergerson, Dr. Marvin Pleasants, Arch Wilson, Roger Mitchell, 
John Hodges, and Dr. John T Lloyd. 

The building was completed by November 1962. The furnishing 
committee was made up of Mrs. J. T Lloyd, Mrs. John Hodges, Jr., and 
Mrs. A. N. Wilson. An Open House was held on 10 June 1962, 
according to the Franklin Times, and the parsonage was dedicated and 
the mortgage note burned on 9 February 1986 {Franklin Times, 20 
February 1986). 

However, by 19 August 1969 the Church was again active, if not in 
building, in repairing and remodeling. The sanctuary was renovated in 
1969. On August 11a charge conference approved the undertaking, 
and in the course of repairs two services each Sunday were held in the 
Blount Fellowship Hall. Remodelling and renovation, according to a 
report to the Administrative Board, were done concurrently with roof 
framing. The architect was Harry J. Harles of Rocky Mount; the 
contractor was William C. Vick Construction Company of Raleigh. A 
loan was obtained from Waccamaw Bank, as reported on 3 November 
1969. The congregation was able to return to the sanctuary in February 


Revivals. Revivals and evangelistic services were abundant 
throughout this period, even if not always so called. MYF president 
Nina M. Oakley reported on 29 May 1955 that the members had 
"attended revival as a group." Pastor G. W Blount on 23 October 1955 
described plans for special services October 30-November 2 for 
"deepening of spiritual life of the Church" led by Dr. Cecil Robbins and 
the Reverend Wade Goldston. The events referred to occurred in the 
same year. In April 1956 "evangelistic services" were led by Dr. A. J. 
Walton of Duke Divinity at which six persons united with the Church 
(Quarterly Conference Records). Bishop Ralph Cushman held a revival 
7-10 April 1957. Revival services the second week in March 1958 
corresponded to services at all churches throughout the conference. 
Three College faculty and staff participated between 9 and 14 March: 
Allen S. DeHart spoke, and music was provided by I. D. Moon and 
Joyce McDonald with Janie (Mrs. Osmond) Yarborough, long-time 
organist at the Church. 

On 10 May 1959 pastor Herman Winberry^s report for the 
Quarterly Conference included a revival led by the Rev. A. Purnell 
Bailey, and by May 1960 Dr. Van Bogart Dunn, Dean of the Methodist 
Theological School of Columbus, Ohio, had led a revival. On 22 
January 1962 Kelly Wilson announced evangelistic services April 
23-27 1962, and a revival led by the Reverend Warren Petteway would 
start on 21 April 1963. On 23 May 1964 a revival was conducted by 
the Rev. D. E. Earnhardt, who was president of Louisburg College 
from 1936-1939. A revival held 31 October-4 November 1965 under 
Kelly Wilson had the title "Our Business Is People." Participants were 
local Methodist preachers, all associated with Louisburg College: 
David Daniel, Walter N. McDonald, Robert John Versteeg, and Gerald 

Rev. Norwood Jones announced on 25 March 1968 (Official 
Board Minutes) a week of services that appear to change the form of 
the traditional revival: "Services each morning would be over radio 
from 9:00 to 9:10; a prayer vigil each morning from 10:00 to 
12:30 — the women in charge on Monday through Thursday and the 
men on Friday; a sharing session each morning from 8:00 to 
8:30 — coffee and donuts . . . served. Mr. Jones urged us to attend all 
services possible and to invite others to come." 

And in 1969 the Commission on Membership and Evangelism 
announced a revival for 23-27 March led by the Rev. Paul Bunn. 
Morning services were led by laymen. 

Lay Organizations. The Woman's Society for Christian Service, the 
Methodist Men, and the Methodist Youth Fellowship were intensely 
active during this period. 


In 1948 Mrs. Walter Patten, wife of the president of Louisburg 
College, was president of the WSCS. The organization numbered 21 
members and the Wesleyan Service Guild 39, for a total of 60. It 
reported sending boxes to orphans, offering study courses, and 
entertaining a zone meeting. A. C. Lee was minister. On 10 September 
1951 the organization reported "Paying on refrigeration for mother 
with small children whose husband is in prison. Helping ill member; 
repairing parsonage kitchen; clothed orphan. . . ." In June 1953, under 
Ernest R. Clegg, they entertained college students twice and gave a 
supper for the faculty, held services at the County Home, sent clothes to 
Korea, and held study classes. In addition to these services, they visited 
an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in 1953-1954, added a study 
course on alcohol, and, in 1955, a study course on Indian Americans. 
The Harvest Day Festival in 1955 later became the bazaar. The group 
was reorganized into four circles in this year, named in honor of Evelyn 
Macon (Mrs. D. T) Smithwick, Maude (Mrs. David) McKinne, Ouida 
(Mrs. Ernest) Furgurson, and Mary Burt (Mrs. M. M., Sr.) Person. 

The WSCS sponsored evening services in January 1955 under 
minister George Blount, taking turns with the MYF, the Sunday 
school, and the Methodist Men. "God, Man, and the City 5 ' was added 
to their study courses that year. On 16 April 1962, Neva (Mrs. Festus) 
Fuller reported, a "Quiet Day for meditation and prayer" was held with 
surrounding churches. The WSCS held an open house for Louisburg 
College on 16 October 1962 and sponsored the Spanish fiesta that 
same fall, offered by members of the Louisburg College faculty. That 
year also they offered study courses on "New Churches for New 
Times" and "The Meaning of Suffering," led by Rev. Wade Goldston of 
the College Religion Department. 

For the WSCS this high level of activity, suggested here rather than 
represented, was not new in this period; the Missionary Society had set 
the example in the days before the name change. It is noteworthy, 
however, that the group was reported to have served suppers to the 
Methodist Men's Club in 1964. And in 1967 they presented a check to 
the organ fund for $828.63, as reported by president Margaret S. (Mrs. 
Hamilton) Hobgood. In June 1972 the WSCS and the Wesleyan 
Service Guild became the United Methodist Women. 

If the old Epworth League seemed perpetually in need of 
reorganization, the new Methodist Youth Fellowship seems to have 
grown steadily According to Quarterly Conference records, in 
September 1948, Minister A. C. Lee, only recently appointed, reported 
the reorganizing of the "Youth Fellowship" into an intermediate and a 
senior group, to meet each Sunday evening. The "Methodist Student 
Fellowship," apparendy for College students, met each Sunday evening 
under the direction of the Rev Dan Bowers of Louisburg College. The 


MYF intermediate and senior groups formed at that time met with 
Vivian Proctor, a Louisburg College student, and Carl Strickland, a 
College ministerial student. Phyllis Bailey was president. These groups 
attended a spring rally at Smithfield and a fellowship party at Murphy's 
cabin at Mi tenner's Pond, with leadership from Ruth (Mrs. Ernest) 
Thomas, Mrs. A. C. Lee, and Mrs. B. B. Massenburg. 

In 1953, Eleanor Beasley (Mrs. Taylor) Dodson was Counselor of 
the MYF; Ernest R. Clegg was minister. The MYF and the WSCS 
welcomed College students with a dance for faculty and students and 
an open house. In 1955 they reported attending a district rally at the 
Methodist Orphanage, planning a community Easter sunrise service, 
attending revival in a group, studying a Lenten Reading Project called 
"I Belong," and attending a workshop at Junaluska, as well as a rally 
and a retreat. Between October 1955 and April 1956 the MYF 
participated in a UNICEF Hallowe'en with other churches, sang 
community Christmas carols, held a New Year's Eve party and a Race 
Relations Sunday, and sponsored a car wash to help buy silver offering 
plates for the Church. Between May and September 1956 they 
reported mailing copies of POWER to members of the congregation in 
the armed services and to college students, holding a folk dance for 
College students, and showing five film strips, among many other 
activities. They focussed on alcohol in a meeting in October 1956. 
Presidents in 1956 and 1957 were Pat Wilson and Patricia Hicks, 
followed by Virginia Trotter. On 23 February 1958 they had a speaker 
and social hour; the topic was friends and friendship, and each member 
was to bring a friend. 

In August 1959 the MYF had 26 members. In the first Quarterly 
Conference of 1959-1960 the MYF reports work on a project to 
support the poor. What developed was the "Welfare Project" reported 
31 May 1960, when they had also been on a trip to Bugg's Island, held 
an open house for ball teams, a fun night, a Watchnight service, and 
home meetings. The MYF paid tribute to Evelyn (Mrs. John) 
Williamson for her support and leadership on 19 May 1960. President 
of the group in 1961 was Joe Pearce, Jr. In March 1962 the 
organization reported average attendance of twelve to fifteen per 
meeting. In 1963-1964 the president was Robert Hobgood, and other 
officers in that year were Kelly Wilson III and Martha Chadwick. 
Counselor was George High. For New Year's Eve, 1964-1965 the 
group held a party at the parsonage and had midnight communion. On 
22 February 1965 Dennis Saunders reported three programs: Baptist 
views, by Rev. Aubrey Tomlinson, minister of the Louisburg Baptist 
Church; Presbyterian views, by Harold Smith; a Valentine supper and 
party given by four parents; and a discussion by Beth McDonald of 
teenage dating. In 1966 the group reported sixteen members. 


The MYF presented a study group on education for sex and 
marriage in May 1968. During this year Pastor Jones and Mary Anne 
(Mrs. M. M., Jr.) Person led the senior group on Sunday nights. 

During this period the MYF seems to have had active and 
successful decades, as this incomplete list suggests. Nevertheless, Pastor 
Vassar Jones, upon his arrival in 1970, reported that the youth 
movement in the Church was "dead," a comment that perhaps must be 
read in the light of the tendency of each new minister to report 
"apathy" and an inflated membership roll. 

The Methodist Men, too, set records for activity. In the 19th and 
earlier 20th centuries, when the Missionary Society and its successor 
the WSCS were perhaps the most assiduous group in the congregation, 
the two boards themselves were made up essentially — earlier 
altogether — of men. In the 20th century, as has appeared, when the 
boards were no longer the exclusive domain of men, men developed 
their own organization and activities. Possibly the men's organization 
grew out of the time-honored 19th-century custom of sending a lay 
representative to the annual conference. In the 20th century came the 
lay leader, the lay rally, and the recognition of available lay speakers in 
the congregation, probably all the formalization of practices that had 
become familiar in the late 19th century. In 1952 John Hodges was lay 
representative at annual conference and in 1951 Samuel M. Holton, 
Louisburg College president, was lay leader; later, women were just as 
likely as men to fill both positions. 

The relationship is illustrated in the report of M. M. Person, Jr., Lay 
Leader, on 22 April 1956, stating that one of several lay projects the 
preceding year had been paying the expenses of the president of the 
Men's Club to attend the Layman's Conference at Lake Junaluska. 
Others were "Special effort of Men's Club to attend district meeting," 
"erection of highway signs showing direction to church," and 
replacement of broken windows in the church steeple. John H. 
Hodges, Lay Leader, reported on 10 May 1959 that Layman's Day had 
been observed 19 October 1958, with guest speaker John Mears; 
Methodist Men's hour had been offered on Sunday morning radio; and 
35 men had attended the annual District Layman's Rally in Raleigh 3 
March 1959. In February 1957, and again in February 1958, the 
Louisburg delegation to the Layman's Rally in Raleigh was the largest 
there (31 in 1958). And in 1968, Norwood Jones reported a large 
delegation at the Layman's Rally. The lay leader reported in late 1959 a 
membership of 32 Methodist Men meeting monthly. In September 
1960 lay leader Umphrey Lee reported 28 Methodist Men and a 
Softball team. 

The Methodist Men took their turn with the WSCS, the Sunday 
school, and the MYF in conducting Sunday-evening services in 1955, a 


series which may have developed from the Methodist Sunday Evening 
Fellowship established in 1950. In his pastoral report to the Quarterly 
Conference for the latter half of 1957, Herman Winberry commended 
"a committee responsible for supporting, promoting, and evaluating 
our Sunday Evening Program." Four of the programs they presented 
are listed under work and study projects. Again, or still, in 1959 the 
Men had their "Methodist Men's Hour" on radio station WYRN. 

In the 1950s, if not before, the lay leader filed a report with the 
chairs of committees and commissions of the quarterly conference. In 
1957, for example, they reported as their project a playground for the 
Sunday school. The goal was achieved under the leadership of Robert 
Hicks and John York in 1961. 

On 22 January 1958 the Commission on Social Concerns reported 
that the Men's Club had held a supper meeting at the home of the J. B. 
Hights with 31 members present. In November 1964 they held a 
ladies' night in the Louisburg College cafeteria, and in December that 
year they studied Genesis on Sunday nights. Such activities continued 
through the 1960s. In the spring of 1966, their membership at 24, they 
heard a talk on the abuse of drugs. In March 1967, Umphrey Lee 
reported for the Methodist Men an "interesting program . . . the 
Catholic priest from Wake Forest spoke." In April, Edward F. 
Yarborough, attorney for the Franklin County Board of Education, 
spoke on compliance with the laws concerning integration. In July the 
Methodist Men heard Dr. Courtland Smith of the College report on the 
Middle East crisis. In September Wayne Benton of the College spoke 
on the Vietnam War. In September 1968 Captain James Brown 
reported for the Methodist Men that Dr. Robbins had been their 
speaker, and in November of the same year Joe Farmer spoke on 
excavations in Israel the past summer. In May 1969 they heard 
Talmadge Edwards of the Franklin County Family Counseling and 
Education Center. During this time they were hearing a speaker each 
month, the Men reported. 

The "No Silent Pulpit" program seems to have been a project of the 
Laymen and the Methodist Men. Lay speakers are listed in threes with 
each quarterly-conference report: In March 1957 Edward E ("Jocko") 
Griffin, John York of Louisburg College, and Taylor Dodson. New 
names were added from time to time: in September 1964 added names 
were Hamilton Hobgood and Robert Hicks. "Layman's Day," 18 
October 1959, featured guest speaker Dr. T T Jones of Durham; also 
on the program were John York, Umphrey Lee, and Bill Benton. 

Recognition. In the records of the Official Board, members of the 
congregation were often recognized for service. The Board sent its 
"love and sympathy" to the Rev E. H. Davis on 1 March 1951 because 


of the illness that prevented his continuing to teach his men's bible 
class. In October 1953 the board moved that "E. H. Malone present to 
the next Quarterly Conference a resolution of respect in honor of the 
late Rev. E. H. Davis." Although still teaching in 1948, "Bro. Davis" 
died at Green Hill in 1953 at the age of ninety-four. 

Pastor Herman Winberry on 23 September 1957 praised three 
youth directors for excellent service. They were James Ivey Evelyn 
(Mrs. John) Williamson, and Marybelle (Mrs. George) Davis. (The 
Commission on Education reported on 15 May 1968 that Marybelle 
Davis had "resigned duties held for years as Superintendent of the 
Children's Division and of the Vacation Bible School.") 

The Board paid tribute to M. Stuart Davis on 14 December 1959 
following his death 3 December. He had served on the Board since 
1907 and was the architect of the Sunday-school building demolished 
in 1957 to make way for the Blount Fellowship Hall. 

Pastor Herman Winberry in his Quarterly Conference report 10 
May 1959 wrote that the Official Board was "alive" under Warren 

"Miss Janie Yarborough" Day occurred in August 1959. Mrs. 
Osmond Yarborough had played the organ at the Church for several 
decades. At a Sunday-evening event in her honor, she was "fed and 
clothed," as she put it in her thank-you note, and given a check for $50. 

Thanked for their services in the construction of the new parsonage 
were M. M. Person, Jr., Chairman of the Committee, and Charles Davis 
for legal advice. Kelly Wilson, Jr., recognized the two on 25 June 1962. 

A marble plaque was installed in the hall of the Education Building 
on 27 June 1964 in memory of George S. Baker, for many years 
Sunday-school superintendent over the turn of the century. 

Roger B. Mitchell throughout these decades was manager of 
Church property and repairs. He was recognized for his services in the 
care of buildings and grounds on 28 September 1964 as well as on 24 
January 1966. In addition, the Mitchells annually entertained the 
Church picnic in August on the grounds of their home on Highway 
401 North. 

The Official Board expressed appreciation to Betty Harris (Mrs. 
Warren) Smith for her years of service as Church secretary on 24 June 

Music: The Choirs, the Organ. I. D. Moon became choir director 
within weeks of his arrival at Louisburg College in 1936. In 1948 he 
was listed as Director of Church Music. On 1 March 1951 Mrs. Dan 
Bowers, whose husband was associated with the College, was reported 
as having organized a junior choir. This may have been the "youth 


choir" that sang at evening services in January 1955. In late 1955 
Pastor George W. Blount reported that the "The choir has recently 
organized, electing a director, assistant director, and secretary." 
Between July and October 1956 1. D. Moon resigned as choir director, 
Joyce (Mrs. W. N.) McDonald became director, and Ruth (Mrs. E. L.) 
Best organized a junior choir. Joyce McDonald was paid five dollars 
per Sunday, or $260 per year. She was listed as Chairman of the Music 
Committee in 1964; she remained choir director until 1992, when she 
was succeeded by J. Craig Eller of Louisburg College. 

For "evangelistic services" 23-27 April 1962, music was supplied 
by both I. D. Moon and Joyce McDonald. 

A fund for organ repair was begun by 1959, when, according to 
Pastor Winberrys report, it contained $16.35. On 27 January 1964 it 
had "passed $2000," including a contribution of $500 in memory of 
Mrs. William A. Andrews. On 25 October 1964 Joyce McDonald gave 
a vocal recital for the benefit of the organ fund. She was accompanied 
by Anne Visor (Mrs. Herbert) Scoggin of the local Episcopal Church, 
and the recital raised $302.25. 

A contract to rebuild the organ was reported in the Quarterly 
Conference records for 1965-1966. The cost was $8,310, part of which 
was borrowed from First Federal Bank. On 2 December 1966 architect 
Walter Burgess spoke to the Board on the remodelling of the choir and 
pulpit area. On 12 May 1968 pastor Norwood Jones reported that the 
organ had been renovated and a "new choir loft installed." The organ 
was moved out of the choir loft, situated to the left facing the pulpit, 
and space for the choir was expanded. 

The Administrative Board on 20 May 1970 established a general 
Memorial Fund (to subsume, for example, the Parsonage Memorial 
Fund) from which funds could be borrowed. The Organ Memorial 
Fund was transferred to the Building Fund with general approval. 

When Janie (Mrs. Osmond) Yarborough retired as organist in 
1959 she was succeeded by Eloise Sorrell (Mrs. Cecil) Robbins of the 
College, who was in turn was replaced upon her retirement 1975 by 
Joseph A. Pearce, Jr. 

Gifts. In 1948, when Minister Allen C. Lee was new, a set of 
Norton chimes was installed in the Church steeple. Records do not 
indicate whether the chimes were a gift or a purchase. Mr. Lee 
described them as a "source of worshipful inspiration" to the 
congregation and to the community. Norwood Jones gave an account 
of their later history: "Months later this atmosphere of worship and 
inspiration was shattered when about 2:00 a.m. there blasted forth 
from the Church tower, the popular rock-and-roll tune 'Shake, Ratde, 


and Roll.' Soon thereafter the record -playing mechanism was broken, 
and there has been little initiative to have it repaired." (The chimes 
experienced another burst of official life in the early 1960s, but it was 

Silver urns presented to the Church 21 May 1950 honored the 
memory of Evelyn Macon (Mrs. D. T.) Smith wick. They were 
presented by her family In November 1961 Mr. and Mrs. Charles 
Metzer gave the kick-plates for the side doors of the Church school. In 
August 1962 Mr. and Mrs. James Sanders and Mr. and Mrs. Roger 
Mitchell gave the wooden guestbook stand for the foyer. A piano in the 
Church parlor was the gift of Mrs. William Andrews in 1963. Pastor 
Kelly Wilson, Jr., reported on 1 June 1964 that "the women" of the 
Church, presumably the WSCS, had paid $75 for a safe donated for the 
preservation of Church records. In January 1964 Robert Hicks made 
the metal railings for the front steps, charging the Church only the cost 
of materials. 

The Scouts. In June 1957 Boy Scout Troop 555 was organized 
under the sponsorship of the Church. Chairman of the Troop 
Committee was Roger B. Mitchell, Scoutmaster was Rev. Walter N. 
McDonald, and his assistants were Joseph A. Pearce and L. C. Hasty 
On 23 September 1957 McDonald and Pearce were praised for their 
good work with the Scouts by the Official Board. By May 1959 a cub 
scout pack had been formed. In September 1961 the Official Board set 
up a "committee to establish a scouting program." It consisted of 
Robert Hicks, Marvin Pleasants, and Minister Kelly J. Wilson, Jr. 

In Quarterly Conference records for 3 Nov. 1965, the scoutmasters 
were named in the Pastor Kelly Wilson's report as John Collins and 
Hoke Steelman. 

At an Official Board meeting 27 January 1964 permission was 
given for the Girl Scout troop to meet at the Church. The motion was 
made by Margaret S tailings (Mrs. Hamilton) Hobgood. 

Sponsorship of the Scouts by the Church continues in the 1990s. 

Church School. The Sunday school throughout this period had 
assiduous workers and good enrollment. Pastor A. C. Lee reported to 
the Quarterly Conference 13 September 1948 that the superintendents 
were M. L. Rowland, principal of Mills High School, later 
superintendent of public instruction for Franklin County, and John 
Perry, succeeding I. D. Moon, choir director, who had been made a 
steward. Mrs. Ben T Holden, superintendent for nearly two decades of 
the primary, junior, and intermediate departments, had died in 
February, and Mrs. Tom Wilson had taken her place. The enrollment 


was 137, "counting the College students enrolled with Hamilton 
Hobgood," and attendance ranged from a high of 82 to a low of 12. 
Forty-one had attended vacation Bible school. 

The church school was closed to those under sixteen from 1 August 
till 12 September 1948 because of the incidence of polio in the area. 

In October 1953 Minister Ernest R. Clegg reported that M. C. 
Rowland was still general superintendent of the Sunday school, and H. 
R. Strother was his assistant. In charge of young people was Eleanor 
Beasley (Mrs. Taylor) Dodson, and the superintendent of the children's 
department was Mrs. W V Woodlief. 

Official Board records for 23 October 1961 report church-school 
attendance at 192 (at least on one Sunday). And on 28 May 1962 the 
Commission on Missions reported 169 in church school "one Sunday 
in May." 

On 3 February 1963 the Commission on Education reported that 
the church school was not increasing its numbers but the quality of the 
work was good. The superintendent was Robert Hicks, Olga (Mrs. 
James) Ivey was Membership-Cultivation Superintendent, and the 
church-school workers were James Ivey, Edna Pergerson, Marybelle 
(Mrs. George) Davis, Mrs. Walter Long, and Miss Gertrude Winston. 

A church-school attendance of 297 was reported in Official Board 
minutes of 23 May 1966. 

The Assembly at Louisburg College of Methodist young people 
was active and successful during this period. 

A Service at Green Hill. On 20 April 1959 Rev. Herman Winberry 
and ten church members memorialized the Green Hill conference of 
1785, in which Bishops Coke and Asbury, Green Hill, John King, and 
Jesse Lee participated, by taking communion at Green Hill. "We felt 
something of the faith of our Fathers who met 174 years ago in the 
same Upper Room." Those communing were Robert Hicks, George 
W Cobb, George D. Davis, Lucy Perry Burt, Marybelle (Mrs. George) 
Davis, M. Stuart Davis, R. Aubrey Bailey, Roger B. Mitchell, Charley 
G. Oakley, and Herman Winberry. 

Names. In spite of the many names of people active in the Church 
that have been included in the account of the 1940-1970 period, the list 
is incomplete. The historian is tempted to include every participant and 
every member; all were essential to the Church in these decades. 
Although a history cannot include all the names that belong to the 
annals, a few additions are desirable for the sake of continuity. 

Member Mrs. S. J. Parham died in 1950; she was the 
granddaughter of Anne Thomas (Mrs. Jones) Fuller, the diarist. At the 


time of her death, her son and daughter, Jones Parham and Anna Fuller 
Parham Sinclair, were active members of the Church, Jones being on 
the Official Board. 

Eleanor Beasley Dodson and her husband Taylor Dodson moved to 
Louisburg from Bloomington, Indiana, in September 1951. Both held 
numerous church offices while he completed his Ph. D. Taylor Dodson 
held a position in physical education at Wake Forest College in Wake 
Forest and then in Winston-Salem. He resigned his Church positions in 
1957 to devote himself to his post at Wake Forest. 

William J. Benton served as Chairman of the Commission on 
Social Concerns in 1957. He owned a furniture store on Nash Street. 
Betsy Benton, his wife, who sang in the choir for some decades until 
the early 1990s, died in 1998. 

Betsy Spivey (Mrs. Paul) Lavender, an adult leader of the 
junior- high fellowship with Julia Holt Kornegay in 1963-1964, was for 
some years secretary of the official board. Her aunt was Betty Bod die 
(Mrs. J. W) Mann. 

Ruth Willard Merritt had a biography published in a history of the 
Woman's Missionary Society of the North Carolina Conference 
(Everett, p. 375). Born in Winfall, NC, the daughter of a minister, 
Ruth Merritt attended Littleton, Trinity, and Scarritt colleges before 
being appointed a missionary to Brazil in 1926. In 1942 she began 
several decades of teaching English at Louisburg College, where she 
left an indelible impression on several generations of College students. 
Her family home was then Lexington NC. 

The Church and the College 

Faculty and staff members of Louisburg College were among the 
leaders of the congregation of the Louisburg church during the 
1940-1970 period. As has been noted, they were heads of 
commissions, choir leaders and members, heads and members of 
church organizations. In September 1952 minister Ernest R. Clegg, in 
his first year at the Church, reported, "There is a very friendly attitude 
between the Church and the College. Our students and teachers of 
Louisburg College attend our church and Sunday school very well and 
they always mean quite a bit to us. We have tried to make every student 
feel at home in our community." And in his Quarterly Conference 
report for 22 May 1961 pastor Herman Winberry, near the end of his 
pastorate at Louisburg, wrote, "The Louisburg Methodist Church and 
Louisburg College enjoy good relationships. The pastor feels a special 
gratitude for the loyalty of the Methodist members of the College 
faculty and administration. ... It has been an inspiration on Sunday 


Louisburg College, Front Campus. From the College Catalogue for 1937. 

morning to have so many of the College students." A year later, 8 April 
1962, Kelly Wilson, Jr., in his first year, also reported a good and close 
relationship: "Cooperation with the faculty and student body of 
Louisburg College is of the highest caliber." 

Early evidence of the close relationship of College and Church 
during this period is that Isaac Deane Moon, who had come to 
Louisburg College in 1936 as head of the Music Department, had by 
1948 served the church as superintendent of the Sunday school and as a 
steward in addition to being director of music until 1956. When A. C. 
Lee was preacher in charge, Quarterly Conference records for 13 
September 1948 reveal that Hamilton Hobgood taught a class of 
College students that brought to 137 the number of students enrolled 
in the Sunday school. The Methodist Student Fellowship met each 
Sunday evening under the direction of Rev. Dan Bowers of Louisburg 
College, according to Quarterly Conference records for 6 February 
1949, and in September 1949 the Methodist Youth Fellowship's 
intermediate group met with Carl Strickland, Louisburg College 
ministerial student. The senior group was led by Vivian Proctor, a 
Louisburg College student. 

Through the 1950s entertainments for College students were 
numerous. In 1954 and 1955 the MYF and the WSCS held a dance for 
faculty and students, and the Church held an open house for College 
students at the beginning of the College year. A student-recognition 
day was held for out-of-town college students. 

In 1956 a program was established by which Church families 
adopted College students. In that summer (Pastor's report, Quarterly 


Conference, July 1-Oct 4), George Blount described a plan designed to 
have the church families take College students into their homes. "In his 
duties as College Chaplain your pastor has had the privilege of 
attending a faculty meeting, and of conducting chapel services. An 
enterprise of the Church and College this year is that families of the 
Church have adopted Methodist students for their friends during the 
college year. The other Churches had been asked to join this movement 
so that all the college students would have contacts with town families 
during the year. Most of the students have been invited into homes for 
meals already." 

President Samuel M. Holton was lay leader of the church in 1951, 
and President Cecil Robbins was perhaps the most active in the Church 
of all the presidents. 

The spring of 1956 was a time of crisis for the College, with the 
Church participating fully. Two church groups, the Methodist 
Long- Range Planning Commission and the Conference Board of 
Education, recommended that the College be moved to Rocky Mount 
and become a four-year college. According to this plan, Louisburg 
College would become a Methodist academy (Willard, p. 157). The 
Church, the town, the county, and the surrounding area reacted 
strongly against the proposal. Church members were among those 
active in preventing the move, notably Hamilton Hobgood, Lucy 
Perry Burt, and John H. Hodges, but a large part of the congregation 
participated in the movement. Attorney James E. Malone chaired the 
committee. So lively was the response that a special session of the 
North Carolina Conference held in Goldsboro on 14 May 1956 
decided not to move or abolish Louisburg College but to establish new 
four-year colleges in Rocky Mount and Fayetteville (Willard, p. 160). 
The Louisburg church joined with churches throughout Franklin 
County on Louisburg College Day, in September 1956, when a special 
offering was taken to raise the sum of $50,000 which the Methodist 
Conference decided the local community must provide in order to 
receive $450,000 from the Conference (Willard, p. 161). 

On 28 August 1956 Dr. Cecil Robbins mentioned to the official 
board six faculty members new that fall, five of whom, with their wives, 
were the Rev. Walter McDonald and his wife Joyce, Grady Snyder and 
his wife Mary E. ("Tootsie") Snyder, and Zelda Coor. Soon to be added 
to this list were Rachel Modlin and Julia Holt (Mrs. Horace) Kornegay. 
All these would become active in the Church. Walter McDonald 
offered a New Testament course on Wednesday evenings that fall. 
Upon I. D. Moon's retirement as choir director, Joyce McDonald took 
the post, which she retained for nearly four decades. Other College 
personnel of significance to the congregation during this period were 
Ruth Merritt, Robert Burier, Umphrey Lee, Allen S. DeHart, Flora B. 


DeHart, John York, W. F. Wagner, Robert John Versteeg, Roland 
Home, Rev. Wade Goldston, Rev. David Daniel, Al Williams, Dr. 
Courdand Smith, Carl Setde, Wayne Benton, Rev. Sidney Stafford, 
and Gerald Shinn. 

Zelda Coor was notable as chair of the Commission on Missions, as 
was Robert Buder as head of the Social Concerns Committee. In 1968 
Captain James Brown of the College faculty began about three decades 
of service to the Church. 

Kelly Wilson reported on 10 February 1963 that "With the loss of 
Rev. [Wade] Goldston from the staff at Louisburg College, it has been 
necessary for me to teach three 8 o'clock classes each week." He found 
it a help in the "disciplined study so necessary for each minister" and 
was sure the congregation benefited. Wilson taught daily from 8:00 till 
9:00 starting in September 1964, and the College paid for a Church 
secretary from 9:00 to 12:00 weekdays. The College was the setting 
during the 1950s of Christian Workers Conferences of two to three 
days attended by Sunday-school teachers. 

Numerous gestures showed the desire for closeness between 
Church and College. At the opening of College in 1957 the Church 
held a name-tag Sunday "to help get acquainted with College 
students." That same fall a College student was given a $150 
scholarship to help with Church work. Walter McDonald was a 
sponsor of the Boy Scouts, who met at the Church. 

Sunday-school was shared during much of this time. 
Church-school Superintendent Robert Hicks reported on 3 February 
1963 that the "College class meets here but does not report to the 
secretary- treasurer." By 1965 Hamilton H. Hobgood, Judge of the 
Superior Court, became Church-school teacher of college-age people 
of both the Church and the College. His class was a "great success" 
(Quarterly Conference Records). 

This was probably the most active era of the history of the Church, 
before or since; for this period the records are more detailed than for 
any preceding one. In general, to the historian, detailed records are 
gratifying. They do, however, pose a problem of great magnitude: the 
impulse is to omit the name of no commission member, Sunday-school 
teacher, or youth leader; to omit no description of a revival, study 
program, gift, or speaker. If this section seems undergeneralized, 
insufficiently compressed, less a history than an annal, that is the 
reason. Nevertheless, a detailed account of events appears to be the best 
way to represent the devotion and purposefulness of the members of 
the congregation who served during this era. 



Beasley, Joseph Macon. Jacksonville NC. Phone conversation, 21 April 1998. 

Bowden, Mrs. Louis B., Jr. Louisburg NC. Phone conversation, 4 May 1998. 

"Crusade for Christ," Franklin Times, 26 January 1945. 

Everett, Mrs. J. LeGrand. Seven Times Seven: A History of the Seven Sabbaths of Tears 
in the North Carolina Conference Woman^s Missionary Society, Dec. 1, 18 78 -Dec. 31, 
1928. Made available by Doris Marshall (Mrs. George) Davis. 

Franklin Times, Louisburg NC: 26 January 1945; 20 November 1945; 20 
February 1986. 

Jones, Norwood L. "History of Louisburg Methodist Church." Directory of the 
Louisburg Methodist Church , 1966. 

Leiffer, Murray A. "United Methodism, 1940-1960," in Emory S. Bucke, Gen. 
Ed., The History of American Methodism, III, 518. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1964. 

Quarterly Conference Records and Administrative Board Minutes, Louisburg 
United Methodist Church. 

Willard, George-Anne. Louisburg College Echoes. Louisburg NC: Louisburg 
College, 1986. 

Yarborough, Nancy Hayes (Mrs. Edward F.), native of Louisburg and resident 
during decades when the historian was not, generously supplied information about the 
World War II veterans. 


Chapter 7 
Into the Nineties 

The Ministers and the Numbers: Tracking and Expansion. Social Themes and 
Programs: The Tolanda Jones Developmental Center. The Nutrition Center. Care 
and Share. Scouts. Preschool Programs. Habitat for Humanity. Volcan. Minorities 
and Open Itineracy. World Affairs. Activities of the Congregation: 
Administrative Changes. The Youth Program. Building, Remodelling, and 
Finance. UMW, UMM. Alternative Worship. Activities for Senior Citizens. Study 
Progams, Movies, and Lectures. Conference-wide Programs. Gifts. Bicentennial. 
Honors and Distinctions. Some Occasions, 1994-1995, 1997. 

In the Methodist Church nationwide, the period of the mid-1960s 
to the late 1980s has been characterized as one of steady decline. From 
over 11 million in 1964, membership fell to less than 9 1/2 million in 
1986 (Wtikc^AndAre We . . ., p. 16). By the measures of attendance at 
services, membership, and Sunday-school enrollment, Methodism lost 
ground. So did the other "mainline" denominations nationally (Wilke, 
Signs , p. 17). 

In the Louisburg church, the activity of the congregation in the 
preceding period was notable. Nevertheless, after 1970 the 
congregation still experimented with new projects, searched for new 
methods, and expanded established programs. It is true there were 
fluctuations in membership, but the changes do not appear to have 
been of a different order from earlier ones. Membership drives 
occurred as they had previously. If the major denominations were in 
crisis, many of the individual congregations nevertheless continued to 
find their own solutions. 

Two factors may have distinguished this congregation from the 
mainline. One was its heritage. Having come into being in response to 
the efforts of the Methodist founders themselves, the Louisburg church 
retained in its self-definition a sense of its inheritance from the earliest 
days. A second steadying influence may have been its traditional 
relationship to Louisburg College. This bond has varied over the 
centuries in strength and inclusiveness, but there have always been 
students and members of the College faculty and staff on the Church's 
boards and committees and among its Sunday-school teachers and 
classes and its congregants. 


The Ministers and the Numbers 

Seven pastors held sway at Louisburg United Methodist Church 
between 1970 and 1995. Vassar Jones (1970-1974) was instrumental 
in establishing the Yolanda Jones Developmental Center, which is still a 
major project of the Church. During his ministry children's church 
became established, and the Church sponsored and housed the 
federally funded nutrition center for senior citizens, which moved to 
the Senior Citizen's Center at Shannon Village upon the Center's 
aquisition of a building there. Arthur Phillips (1974-1979) first 
obtained pastoral assistants for the youth ministry. During this period 
the Church acquired the Egerton/Wynne house next door, in which the 
Developmental Center was rehoused. 

Under Stanley Smith (1979-1984) there were physical-plant 
improvements, a shepherding program, and emphasis on increasing 
enrollment. Dr. Milton Gilbert became minister in 1984. Care and 
Share was instituted during his ministry, with other outreach and 
missions activities. A pre-school was sponsored in the Blount 
Fellowship Hall. A weekend of activities commemorated the church's 
bicentennial. A remodeling and renovation project was set on foot in 
1987, eventuating in the renovation of the sanctuary in early 1989. 

Dr. Wallace Kirby was minister from 1990 until his retirement in 
1992. A new computer was added, an open itineracy Sunday was held, 
and the membership was audited. Richard Clayton (1992-1997), 
whose term emphasized membership, attendance, and youth and 
missions activities, set in motion a building program: the construction 
of a new education building and the remodeling of the Blount 
Fellowship Hall. 

Expansion of the sanctuary by opening of the previously closed-off 
Sunday school rooms in the back of the auditorium and to the right of 
the pulpit is evidence that in numbers the congregation held its own in 
the second half of the 20th century. In the 1970-1995 period Vassar 
Jones reported correction of the rolls to arrive at the figure of 454 in 
1970. In October 1973 the count was 482 full members and 44 
preparatory ones. On 15 May 1990 the Vitalization Committee 
reported among its statistics a membership of 479 on the church roll, 
including 300 active resident members (Administrative Council 
Minutes). Membership reported by Wallace Kirby to the 
Administrative Council on 18 September 1990 was 498 for 
1989-1990 and, for the preceding six months, 502. A committee to 
audit the membership was made up of Dr. Kirby, Charles Davis, Doris 
Davis, Caroline Murphy, and Anne Brown. Minister C. B. Owens in 
January 1998 reported 610 members. Average attendance at Sunday 


morning service was 140 in 1990-1991; for July-January 1990-1991, 

Tracking and Expansion. Beginning 21 December 1972, 
registration pads were placed in each pew of the church to record 
attendance. Although not in continuous use throughout the next two 
decades, their use was resumed by 1990. 

A Religious Census, taken jointly with the Louisburg Baptist 
Church, occurred 7-13 January 1973 {Newsletter for December 1972). 
Visitors went to the home of each family in Louisburg and filled out a 
card on each. 

In 1983 the Evangelism Committee conducted a survey of the 
community over a period of several months (Administrative Board 
Minutes 15 March 1983). "Involve a Million," under the direction of 
John Huston, promoted a canvass of the community by 52 members of 
the Church. 

The Shepherding Program, then recendy instituted, held a session 
to train some 25 volunteers to reach newcomers in order to increase 
attendance (Administrative Board Minutes 18 September 1981). By 2 
March 1982, the group had made 64 contacts. Again, in the spring of 
1988, a shepherding program was put in place by the Evangelism and 
Membership Committee, with twenty districts, each with a shepherd 
(Administrative Board Minutes 19 April 1988). 

Anticipating the 200th anniversary of Methodism in America, the 
Sunday schools named 24 April 1983, which was Heritage Sunday, as 
"High Attendance Sunday." Helen Benton announced the designation 
to the Administrative Board 15 March 1983. The goal was to increase 
enrollment in the Sunday-school classes. 

Social Themes and Programs 

In the early 1970s the Social Concerns Committee was headed by 
Lucy Burt, who told the Administrative Board on 9 February 1971 that 
the group was henceforth to be called the Committee on Church and 
Society. Most important among its concerns were the Yolanda Jones 
Developmental Center, Care and Share, and the Nutrition Center. 
There were also other interests: alchohol and drugs, both subjects of 
lectures and movies offered by the Church. In 1970 The Messenger 
requested on March 19 contributions to the Alcohol Council, a county 
organization to provide education and referral services to alcoholics 
and their families. Frank Layton, working through the Family 
Counseling and Education Center, had found that the number of 
people to be contacted and visited greatly exceeded expectation. 


The Yolanda Jones Developmental Center. The Administrative Board 
decided at a meeting on 20 June 1972 to establish the Mental Health 
Day Care Center, to operate in the Blount Fellowship Hall. By 17 
October funds in the amount of $788 per month had come through 
from the federal government and from mental health programs. Mrs. 
Mary Lee Rose was employed as director and authorized to hire a 
teacher and aides. On 13 November 1972 a "Mutual Agreement" was 
drawn up between the church and the area Mental Health Board 
defining services and financial terms regarding matching funds for the 
Title IV-A grant. A speaker from Greensboro College addressed 
parents of mentally retarded persons on 13 November, under 
arrangements by Ruth (Mrs. Edward Lee, Jr.) Best. The Center opened 
1 January 1973, and a "Sunshine Class" for mentally retarded children 
was held on the first Sunday. Edith (Mrs. Kenneth) Davis was elected 
treasurer (25 January 1973 Administrative Board Minutes), and Mrs. 
Anne Hutchinson replaced her later in the year. An open house was 
held at the center 6 May 1973 (12 April 1973 Administrative Board 
Minutes). By November, twelve children were enrolled at the center 
(18 November 1973 Charge Conference Report), which was named 
for Yolanda, the daughter of Pastor Vassar Jones. The Center moved in 
1978 into the Egerton/Wynn house behind the Church on Noble 
Street, which was purchased by borrowing $20,000 from the Franklin 
Savings and Loan Association; in 1998 it occupied remodelled 
quarters in the Blount Fellowship Hall. 

In early 1990 the Center, having operated for seventeen years, had 
its funding withdrawn. However, the Murdock Center at Butner State 
Mental Hospital provided funds to keep it open for one year while 
other sources were sought (20 March 1990 Administrative Board 

The Nutrition Center. The Administrative Board agreed (10 
February 1974) to accept the federally funded nutrition center for 
senior citizens as a social service. (See Activities for Seniors.) The 
Region K Senior Services, Inc., center served lunch to seniors in the 
Blount Fellowship Hall until the establishment of the town Senior 
Citizens' Center. 

Care and Share. In 1983 a crisis center called Care and Share was 
formally incorporated under the leadership of Jean (Mrs. L. C.) Hasty, 
who became chair. It had eventually the cooperation of eight to ten 
other churches. Temporary space was provided behind the courthouse 
until the center moved into permanent quarters on Main Street north 
of Franklin. The original goal was to provide clothing and food for the 
needy; fuel was added later (11 December 1983 Administrative Board 


Minutes). By 1986, according to 14 January Board minutes, the center 
had been granted $2600 by the North Carolina Methodist Conference 
and had receipts from churches, clothing sales, donations, etc., of over 
$7000. By the end of 1985 it had served eighty families and 293 

The Louisburg United Methodist Church was awarded one of the 
Governor's Statewide Volunteer Awards in the Church/Religious 
Organization category in recognition of the Nutrition Center being 
held in the Fellowship Hall, the Yolanda Jones Developmental Center 
in the Egerton/Wynn house, and other activities such as Care and 
Share. Mary Ann (Mrs. M. M., Jr.) Person, accepted the award for the 
Church at the Governor's Statewide Volunteer Awards Ceremony on 2 
October 1983 in Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh. 

Scouts. A renewal of sponsorship of the Girl Scouts was agreed to 
by the Administrative Council on 1 October 1985, the Church to 
provide meeting facilities, utilities, and leadership. Leaders were 
Evelyn Cox, Janet Hatley, and Charla Ellis. Boy Scout troops 510 and 
555 had been sponsored by the Church since their organization (14 
January 1986 Administrative Council Minutes). 

Preschool Programs. The Administrative Council agreed on 25 June 
1986 to a request from the Raleigh YWCA to maintain a preschool 
program and a Mothers' Time Out in the classrooms of the Blount 
Fellowship Hall. The preschool program, for children 3 and 4 years 
old, began meeting on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 8:30 
and 12:30 p.m. in two classrooms; the program for infants up to 2 met 
in one classroom on Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Open house for 
both groups was held September 1 (9 September 1986 Administrative 
Council Minutes; see Appendix). The program was not operated by 
the Raleigh Y, however, but by local women. 

In 1990 a preschool program was proposed for 2 and 3 years olds, 
five days a week, similar to that established earlier. The Administrative 
Council accepted the recommendation of the Education Committee, 
presented by Sue Guerrant (Mrs. Bill Lord), on 17 April 1990, to 
establish the preschool, for the purpose of assisting Church families and 
attracting new members (see Appendix). 

Habitat for Humanity. In early 1988 the United Methodist Men 
responded to a request for help by the Habitat for Humanity projects in 
the community (19 April 1988 Administrative Board Minutes). 

Minister Clayton reported to the Charge Conference in 1995 (13 
November) that Church volunteers were active with Care and Share 


food and clothing ministries, Habitat for Humanity, monthly birthday 
celebrations at the local nursing homes, most scouting programs in 
Franklin County, and a week-long summer day camp for 
underprivileged children at Camp Kerr Lake. 

Volcan. In early summer 1995 the Church sent a Volunteers in 
Mission Work Team (Volcan) to San Isidro, Costa Rica, to work with a 
Methodist congregation in that country At Christmas each family in 
the Church was given a stocking to stuff with change for the Volunteers 
in Mission Committee. The contribution amounted to $1,279.26. 
Those on the Volcan Work Team were Victor Bethea, Rick Clayton, 
Cheryl Dement, Jamie Dement, Sue Guerrant, Mike Jones, Terri 
Marshall, Jacob Parrish, Bruce Pearce, Sissy Perry, Jack Pugh, Kathy 
Pugh, Phil Stover, Judy Stover, Michelle Stover, David Summerlin, 
Hope Williamson, Linda Wilson, and Tony Woodard. 

Minorities and Open Itineracy. Changes with regard to the Church 
and minorities have taken place with little attention accorded them in 
the records. Sunday, 13 February 1972, was Race Relations Sunday, 
observed essentially on behalf of the United Methodist-related 
predominately black colleges and including a study session on Black 
Africa and an opportunity to contribute (27 March 1972 Newsletter). 

The term "Race Relations," designating a Conference Non-Budget 
Special, occurs in the Church treasurer's reports from 1969 until 1972, 
when it was replaced by "Human Relations." Thus Human Relations 
Day, "a new special day in our church," took place on Sunday, 28 
January 1973 (December 1972 Newsletter). The offering of that day 
went to assist minority people through the following programs: 
Voluntary Service Program, Community Developers, 
Police-Community Relations, and Training of American Indians, Asian 
Americans, and Hispanic Americans. 

In 1990 one committee formulated a position with regard to open 
itineracy. As part of the process of replacing Dr. Milton Gilbert in 
mid- 1990, the District Superintendent asked the Pastor- Parish 
Relations Committee to fill out the Conference form concerning open 
itineracy ("appointment without regard to race, ethnic origin, sex, 
color, or age, except for the provisions of mandatory retirement") (20 
March 1990 Administrative Council Minutes). The Committee 
expressed for the Church its willingness to accept an appointment 
"without regard to the above." However, the Committee felt that the 
"appointment of a black or a female would have an adverse effect on 
both membership and financial giving." "This church has just been 
through an extremely trying and divisive time. Unity is needed now." 
(The reference was to a retreat from more to less ambitious building 


plans in 1989.) In response to the question concerning what was being 
done to create acceptance of open itineracy, the Committee reported 
that the subject had been discussed in one Sunday-school class and 
according to plan would be discussed in all, perhaps better after the 
start of the term of a new minister. Women, it was noted, would be 
found more acceptable than blacks in the ministerial role. Women 
might be invited to preach in order to enlarge the experience of the 

An Open-Itineracy Sunday took place on 15 September 1991. 
Planned by the Administrative Council on 19 March 1991, it featured 
discussions in Sunday-school classes, a guest woman preacher, and a 
covered-dish supper with a guest speaker. 

Although membership in the 1990s was minimally integrated, 
many of the Church's services and activities, especially those relating to 
community projects, attracted an audience better representative of the 
local population. 

World Affairs. Responding to certain issues arising in the area of 
world affairs, the Church remained passive regarding others. 

In April 1972 the Church received a "Message from the Council of 
Bishops" opposing the Viet Nam war (see Appendix). The concluding 
paragraph of the page-long statement reads: "We call upon the United 
Methodist Church and its members to exercise our rights and 
responsibilities as Christian citizens by seeking to influence and change 
those public policies that, for more than twenty years, have made 
possible and compounded military and political wrongs in distant 

An appeal for contributions to UNICEF appeared in The Newsletter 
in October 1972 "despite all the unjust criticism from various 
organizations of our community." 

The church bells in Louisburg rang for five minutes at 7:00 p.m. on 
the last Saturday evening of January 1973 "as a call to prayer of 
thanksgiving for the signing of the cease-fire treaty between the North 
Vietnamese, the South Vietnamese, and the United States" (25 
January 1973 Administrative Board Minutes). 

Administrative Board minutes for 15 January 1983 report that, in 
response to the January 20 "60 Minutes" program on CBS and a recent 
article in the Reader's Digest "criticizing the National Council of 
Churches and the World Council of Churches for using funds to 
support 'left-wing and radical agencies'," Charles Davis moved that the 
Church write a letter to Bishops Hunt and Cannon opposing 
contributions to groups "advocating the overthrow of our 
government." Dr. Allen Norris, president of Louisburg College, 


moved to table the motion out of the need for more information and 
discussion, but it passed by a vote of 11-12. Answers received from 
Bishops Hunt and Cannon (15 March 1983 Administrative Board 
Minutes) offered reassurance that the church funds were contributing 
to "Christian humanitarian purposes." 

The Council of Bishops, according to Administrative Council 
minutes for 9 September 1987, asked that their letter and resolution on 
the nuclear crisis be read to congregations throughout the United 
States during the following week. Dr. Milton Gilbert read the letter the 
Sunday after that selected by the bishops because he was out of town on 
the previous Sunday. 

In January 1991 the church was open for several hours during the 
morning for private prayer because of the anticipated war in the Persian 

Activities of the Congregation 

Administrative Changes. A restructuring of the governing bodies of 
the Church was instituted in 1978. On 19 September 1978 Minister 
Arthur Phillips wrote to all Church officers that the Administrative 
Board had approved a plan whereby the Board would henceforth 
consist of the Council of Ministries, the Board of Trustees, the Finance 
Committee, and the Pastor- Parish Relations Committee. The purpose 
was to achieve identity of these committees and the Board. In early 
1991, however, under Wallace Kirby, the Administrative Council 
restructured as an Administrative Board and a Council of Ministries, to 
take effect in January 1992. Administrative Board functions included 
finances and buildings. Council of Ministries functions included 
programming. Chairpersons of the work areas, among others, 
belonged to the Council, and the Council reported to the 
Administrative Board. 

The Youth Program. The Church employed its first student youth 
leader, Boyd Holiiday, for the year 1973-1974 in the pastorate of Vassar 
Jones. Holiiday was supplied by the Duke Divinity School Field 
Education Program. His employment was the culmination of a period 
of protracted alarm, beginning in 1970, concerning low numbers of 
youth participants. Discussions at Administrative Board meetings 
illustrate this concern. On 23 April 1970 the Board made plans to 
bring together parents and young people to discuss interest in and basic 
rules for a youth- recreation program in church facilities. The subject 
had been explored with the Baptist and Episcopal churches, which 
proved able to help in only a limited way The Council of Ministries 


discussed getting a youth worker from either Southeastern Seminary or 
Duke University. 

Certain youth activities were being steadily provided, however. For 
the Social Concerns Committee, Lucy Burt recommended on 10 
November 1970 use of the facilities of the church by any "suitable and 
chaperoned" group of Louis burg College students. On 8 November 
1970, a movie on alcohol and drugs had been shown for young people 
especially, after which Judge Hamilton Hobgood held a 
question-and-answer session attended by twenty-four people. 

Opportunities for summer camping were being made available to 
all age groups and to families, as announced in The Messenger in March 
and April 1970; and an article called "Camp Crusade" requested 
contributions for the development of the Kerr Lake Camp Site by the 
Raleigh District. A deep well had already been dug, a bath house was 
under construction, and a dining/assembly hall was planned. The 
Church's "first venture in day camping," led by Mrs. Joe Farmer, 
occurred in June 1971 at Camp Kerr Lake. Twenty-six children and 
fifteen adults participated (August 1971 Newsletter). 

Two of Vassar Jones's innovations were directed at children: A 
"Little Church for Youth" was first offered on 6 December 1970, the 
initiation of the children's sermon, flourishing twenty years later when 
Wallace Kirby invited various adults to conduct it and, after that, when 
Rick Clayton, as "Mr. Rick," elicited responses from the many children 
in attendance, to the entertainment of adults as well). "Boy acolytes" 
began to be used in 1971 to light the candles, and girls were prompdy 
added (boy acolyte of the month of April 1971 was Jody Daniel; for 
August 1971 Susan Hasty served). Sunday-school teachers began to be 
rotated every three months, to offer relief to faithful teachers who had 
served for years and to employ unused talent (April 1970 Messenger). 

On 3 October 1971 the Administrative Board decided to make use 
of a portion of the Fellowship Hall for youth activities — pingpong, 
pool, etc. But church-school attendance itself was "embarassingly" low, 
according to Vassar Jones and Sunday-school chair Robert Hicks in the 
July 1972 Newsletter. In a continuing effort to build up the church 
school, the September 1972 Newsletter contained a questionnaire, 
"Why I Do Not Attend Church School." Included was a checksheet 
entitled "I Would Come to Church If . . ." and two pages of quotations 
from members concerning "Benefits of Regular Church Attendance." 
A related subject of concern in the same Newsletter was the inactivity of 
the senior-high young people. A pizza supper in the Fellowship Hall 
was the setting for a discussion led by Kenneth Davis concerning 
possible activities. Davis was a former executive for the Boy Scouts, 
now on the Louisburg College staff.) The junior- high group was 
reported in the October Newsletter to be planning activities under 


Rocky Saunders with the help of junior-high students Sarah Rebecca 
Davis and Bonnie Pearce. 

On 12 April 1973 the Administrative Board discussed getting a 
youth worker through the Duke Endowment, and the result was the 
appointment of Boyd Holliday (Five people were present at this 
meeting, and the minister presided in the absence of the chair and 
vice-chair.) The Church sponsored on 29 April a session on drug abuse 
at which the Rev. Bill Armstrong spoke and showed a film, preceding a 
covered-dish supper. Vassar Jones reported on 18 November 1973 that 
he was holding "rap sessions" in the dorms at Louisburg as well as 
chapel services (Charge Conference Minutes). 

Following Boyd Holliday in 1973-1974, Robert Roth, Jr., served 
as youth director in the summer of 1977. Others followed, all under the 
auspices of the Duke Divinity School Field Education Program. The 
Administrative Board minutes for 23 May 1978 defined the role: "The 
Board is grateful to . . . [President Allen] Norris and Louisburg College 
for housing our summer pastoral assistant, Rev. Bill Haddock, who has 
just completed his first year at Duke University Divinity School. He is 
from Vanceboro, N. C, and will serve with us from May 27 through 
August 13. His primary responsibility will be with the Day Camp and 
Youth Ministry. He will also help with Bible School." Again, a goal set 
by the Administrative Board's planning session 25 August 1979 was 
"Search for ways to obtain the services of a full-time youth director, 
possibly a nine-month Duke graduate student for weekends." 
Susbsequent youth directors were Bill Boley, summer 1980; Priscilla 
Pope, summer 1982; David Bubb, summer 1983; and winter of 
1988-1989, Duane Larson. 

Summer bible schools were held in the mid-1980s in conjunction 
with the Baptist church, alternating use of the facilities of the two 
churches. Attendance was reported to be good. An "exceptional 
number" of children and youth participated in promotion Sunday in 
September (September 1986 Administrative Council Minutes). 

The Council on Ministries began to include a youth representative, 
and Mark Gilbert served in 1989-1990 during his father's ministry. 

In 1990 Rick Hanse's appointment as youth assistant was 
announced on 18 September in the Administrative Board meeting. 
"Dr. Wallace Kirby said that he and Linda Wilson spent a day in 
Durham discussing the youth program. The tide for Rick Hanse is 
Student Associate. He will be paid $2600 for 26 weeks employment. 
The money will be sent to Duke, and it will go for scholarships. A 
monthly log will be kept." Linda (Mrs. Woody) Wilson had been adult 
leader of the junior- high group and was commended for excellent 
service at the same meeting. 


For 1992 -1993, in the ministry of Rick Clayton, Will Allen was 
student associate. Will was, while not a native of Louisburg, a lineal 
descendant of the Will Allen whose imposing house at 91 5 North Main 
Street was during the 1990s being remodeled by church members Julie 
and Russell Reid. Will was an assiduous and involved youth leader, 
identifying not only with the Church but with the town, despite the 
fact that his ancestor had been, he said, a Baptist! At the time he left to 
go to seminary in Tennessee, he married Stuart, who had been 
introduced to the congregation; they returned later as visitors and after 
a couple of years sent word of the birth of a baby daughter, whom Rick 
Clayton baptised in the Church. 

Pam Gilliam served in 1993-1994, initiating, with Helen Benton, a 
program of senior activities in addition to directing youth activities. 
She was followed by Heather Stallings as student associate and director 
of youth ministry. Heather, toward the end of her lively and 
enthusiastic ministry, married her counterpart in the Louisburg Baptist 
church. Yancey Gulley assisted during her term. 

Some of the Methodist Youth Fellowship activities offered over the 
decade of the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, as noted in various 
Administrative Board minutes, included a trip to King's Dominion, a 
visit to the World's Fair, sales of Christmas wrappings, participation in 
the Governor's Youth Involvement Project called the "Second Mile 
Clean-Up Campaign," a Youth Day at Duke, including a football game, 
a conference youth rally in Cary, a seminar on human sexuality, 
senior- high bowling, and a UN study tour. In 1995 there were two 
children's choirs (the Cherub Choir, under Alicia Eller, and the Joyful 
Singers, directed by Lou Batton) and a Youth Choir under Joy Clayton. 
Sunday-school classes for youth by this time numbered seven. 

On Sunday, 24 December 1995, at the morning service, the 
Cherub Choir sang, with gestures and the backing of a boom box, 
"Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy" ("He comes from the glory, He comes 
from the glorious kingdom"), "Fum, Fum, Fum," and "We Wish You a 
Merry Christmas." Twenty- two youngsters performed in the Cherub 
Choir. The children's sermon, held at the rail immediately after their 
performance, brought the number of children at the altar to about 

31 December 1995 was Recognition Sunday for college students 
of the Church. They were Stephanie Amos, Eddy Boyette, Jr., Jimmy 
Brooks, Trey Ford, Heather Freeman, Lacy Hobgood, Sarah Ihrie, 
Jessica King, Clarky Lucas, Colin Mohlmann, Jessi O'Neal, Sam West, 
Jenkins Williamson, Brad Wilson, Paul Wilson (and Janet White, 
Louisburg College faculty member and graduate student at N. C. 


Young people presented the service on 11 February 1996. Pastor 
Rick Clayton was away on the Conference -sponsored tour of Israel, 
and Assistant Minister Heather S tailings organized the service. Young 
people of the Church offered personal statements that proved to be 
profoundly moving to the congregation — and to Rick Clayton, who 
saw the service on video tape on his return — for the evidence of 
spiritual development of the young speakers. 

Building, Remodelling, and Financing. Following renovation of the 
sanctuary in late 1969, Caroline (Mrs. Earle) Murphy chaired a 
committee to raise money for new light fixtures. Following action of 
the Administrative Board, a letter of 13 March 1970 from John H. 
Hodges, Chair of the Administrative Board, and Norwood L. Jones, 
Minister, invited families to contribute $400, the cost of a new fixture, 
in memory or in honor of a relative or friend. By 25 May 1970 an 
ample number had been given, and the fixtures were installed in 
October 1971 and dedicated 14 May 1972 in memory or in honor of 
Dr. J. T. Lloyd, Capt. and Mrs. Hugh W Perry, Mr. and Mrs. Fred L. 
Herman, Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Bailey, Mr. and Mrs. W E. Murphy, Sr., 
and Mr. and Mrs. G. W Macon, Sr. 

Planning for a financial crusade began in the summer of 1971 
(Newsletter, August 1971), to be mounted in October. The purpose was 
to "secure money and three-year pledges to underwrite our 
indebtedness on the recent repair, air conditioning in the sanctuary, and 
organ repair." The crusade was carried out between 10 October and 4 
November. Captain James Brown and Caroline (Mrs. Earle) Murphy 
were co-chairs; there were thirteen on the executive committee, with 
eleven teams of four persons each. The giving was over and above 
yearly budget giving. The contributions would reduce the amount of 
interest being paid on the debt. On 9 November 1971, the total 
pledged was $45,221, and the total reached on 12 January 1972 was 

Minutes of the 23 April 1970 meeting of the Administrative Board 
reveal that, the work of remodelling having been completed, a 
contractor established the replacement value of the church, including 
the parsonage and the education building, at $341,000. 

To meet the need discussed at the 25 May 1970 Administrative 
Board meeting to paint the interior of the parsonage, funds were 
transferrred from the Organ Memorial Fund to the Building Fund. In 
the course of the discussion of this action, Charles Davis introduced 
and the board passed a motion to establish the Louisburg United 
Methodist Church Memorial Fund to be used at the discretion of the 
Administrative Board. All future memorial donations would go to this 


The Administrative Board meeting of 26 April 1971 passed a 
motion that the Church buy the house and lot to the east of the 
Fellowship Hall on Noble Street, offered for sale by owner Morris 
Wynne for $7,500. But it was not until 1976 that the Church acquired 
the Egerton/Wynne property, to be occupied by the Yolanda Jones 
Developmental Center A Charge Conference on 6 June 1976 voted to 
borrow $20,000 from the Franklin Savings and Loan for the purchase. 

The stained-glass windows were repaired in the early months of 
1981, the organ underwent repairs, and early summer saw the 
installation of a new heat pump and air conditioning in the parsonage 
(Administrative Board Minutes 3 March 1981 and 14 July 1981). A 
new boiler, put in place by 26 July 1983 (Minutes), cost $3800. 

In 1983 the trustees repaired the roof of the Fellowship Hall at a 
cost of $3000 (Administrative Board Minutes 6 Sept), and new 
needlepoint kneelers were installed on 17 May (Minutes 20 

On 16 January 1984 the Administrative Board agreed to contract 
with the M. P. Moler Organ Company for a new organ console at 
$15,000 and for repairs on the pipes, etc., for $1500. The new console 
was installed by the end of 1984 (16 January 1984 Administrative 
Board Minutes). A concert by Norman Spivey and Joe Pearce raised 
more than $1300 for this fund. 

The parsonage was dedicated on 9 February 1986, when the 
construction loan had been paid in full. Dr. Milton Gilbert was minister 
at the time. Kelly Wilson, Jr., minister when the parsonage was built, 
preached at the morning service, and a meal was served afterward in the 
Fellowship Hall. 

Under the aegis of the Board of Trustees, architect James Ward, 
consulting architect at Duke University, began a long association with 
the Church as adviser and consultant. He visited the Church in the fall 
of 1986 and prepared a questionnaire concerning present and future 

Early in 1987 discussions began regarding renovation of the 
sanctuary and remodeling of the education building. Consultants in 
these early stages were William Vick Construction Company and the 
architect John Hitch of Raleigh. To fund the work, both loans and 
bond issues were discussed. A new roof for the education building was 
an immediate need, however; as a result, Fenner Spivey, Chair of the 
Finance Committee, requested establishment of a line of credit of 
$80,000 for the roof, architectural fees, financing a compaign, and 
Vick's consultation services already rendered. A capital funds campaign 
was conducted by the Office of Finance and Field Service of the United 
Methodist Church, and a building committee of the Church was 
selected to explore renovation. Members were Lynn Williamson, Craig 


Eller, Buddy (Eugene) Street, Ray Hodges, Burt Pearson, Linda 
Cottrell, Myra Wilson, Bill Lord, M. M. Person, Jr., Dr. B. L. 
Patterson, and Dr. J. Allen Norris, Jr. (19 April 1988 Administrative 
Board Minutes). 

At a meeting of the Administrative Council on 27 October 1988 
the renovation work was officially designated the "House Acceptable" 
campaign. Gifts and pledges totalled $320,000 and were expected to 
reach the goal of $350,000. A church conference on 11 December 

1988, presided over by Dr. Thomas A. Collins, Raleigh District 
Superintendent, voted to undertake a renovation project totalling 
$600,000, including the $320,000 given and pledged to date, with the 
balance funded by a local bond issue (approximately $450,000). On 17 
January 1989, the Council established a bond steering committee with 
Tom Collie as chair. However, on 22 May 1989 the majority of those 
present at a church conference had second thoughts. In the absence of 
District Superintendent Tom Collins, the Rev. Paul Leeland, pastor of 
St. Andrew's United Methodist Church, Garner, presided. In response 
to the motion that the remodeling be undertaken for the $328,000 
now in hand, Dr. Gilbert pointed out that reducing the figure to this 
extent would nullify the plans already drawn up by the architects. The 
conference voted for a secret ballot, and the motion to reject the 
$600,000 price tag, including a bond issue, was passed 58 to 30. 

The House Acceptable renovation project having already been 
approved March 1 by the Charge Conference in the amount of 
$328,000, the Finance Committee gained passage by the 
Administrative Council of a loan of $150,000 from United Carolina 
Bank for five years, payable at $30,000 a year with interest paid 
monthly or quarterly at prime rate (17 April 1990 Administrative 
Council Minutes). The renovation proceeded on that smaller budget in 

1989, and services were held in the Louisburg College Chapel until 
work was completed in the spring of 1990. 

Early in 1990 the United Methodist Men sponsored the 
improvement of the pews in the sanctuary: refinishing, cushioning, and 
labeling them with plaques bearing the names of donors. The work was 
finished in time for the return to the renovated sanctuary. 

The value of Church property, as reported to the Administrative 
Council on 18 September 1990, when Wallace Kirby was minister, was 
$1,184,700 for the church and education buildings, $115,000 for the 
parsonage, and $74,000 for the Yolanda Jones (Egerton/Wynne) 

At a planning retreat in September 1992, with Richard Clayton the 
minister since mid-summer, a building campaign was discussed as a 
long-range goal. In 1993, a building committee was appointed; it was 
expanded in May 1994 (16 May Administrative Board Minutes) to 


consist of George Davis, Chair, John Huston, Billy Dement, Woody 
Wilson, Sarah I. Davis, Charla Ellis, and Joe Pearce. Meetings began in 
1994. Members of the Building Finance Committee were Tom Collie, 
Chair, Buddy Street, Ken King, Dale Place, Chip Davis, Linda 
Cottrell, Genny Perdue, Margaret Mehlinger, Beth Burkhead, and Jean 

In the summer of 1995 (16 May Administrative Board Minutes) 
the Building Finance Committee held a "low-key" campaign for seed 
money to hire an architect to begin plans for land-use design. The 
campaign brought $27,000; the goal had been $50,000. The Building 
Committee nevertheless proceeded to interview architects and to hire 
John Hickman of Kins ton in the fall. Among financing sources was a 
bond issue handled by Reliance Trust Company. The new fellowship 
hall was completed in the winter of 1997-1998 and the Blount 
Fellowship Hall remodelled by 22 August 1998, when a breakfast open 
house was held. 

United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men. The activities of 
both these groups have been described under such headings as Social 
Themes and Projects, Building, Remodelling and Finance, and 
Bicentennial. Often they promoted the projects of other Church 
organizations, as in the summer of 1980, when the Council on 
Ministries offered a day camp, with Jane (Mrs. George) Murphy in 
charge, and the Circles of the UMW provided food. Similarly, when the 
sanctuary was repaired and redecorated in 1990 the UMM sponsored 
the improvement of the pews. 

The UMW program for 1996 lists five groups and 104 members. 
Its overall projects for the year were nursing home visitation, support 
for the Care and Share center, support for families in need through the 
Good Samaritan Fund, kitchen maintenance, providing a meal for any 
bereaved family, scholarship money for ministerial students, the 
ecumenical dinner, the bazaar, support for Habitat for Humanity, and 
support for the mission-work team. Two of the five groups met at 
night, and one was a service circle listing 38 members. A "prayer chain" 
responded to any request for prayer. The major shared events of the 
year were the fellowship dinner in February, the ecumenical dinner in 
June, and the joint dinner in December. In 1989 their special-interest 
groups included exercise, knitting, bible study, bridge lessons, and, 
"still," maintaining the kitchen. 

A specific project of the UMM in 1983-1984 was working with 
twenty members in the Raleigh District to visit all the Methodist 
churches in the District to promote the Louisburg College Chapel 
Challenge project (16 January 1984 Administrative Board Minutes). 
They developed the picnic pavillion behind the Church; they were 


active with Habitat for Humanity (17 November 1987 Administrative 
Board Minutes); and they presented regular programs and pancake 

Alternative Worship. Communion was offered at 9:30 on the first 
Sunday of each month by Vassar Jones in 1972 (17 October 1972 
Administrative Board Minutes), and Mr. Jones also offered a family 
communion on 19 April from 7 till 9 p.m. (12 April 1973 
Administrative Board Minutes). 

In 1994 Rick Clayton held alternative services for the five Sundays 
in May from 8:45 until 9:30 a.m. Dress was informal, and the order of 
service was different from that of worship at 11:00 a.m. The goal was 
to attract people with work or recreational schedules that conflicted 
with the 11:00 a.m. service. A light breakfast was served in the church 
courtyard, provided by the Chancel Chimers. The services were 
attended on average by more than 35 people; on 1 May, 55 attended. 

During the same period, a new Sunday-school class was held in the 
living room of the parsonage. Both the early Sunday service and the 
Sunday-school class were alive and well in 1997-1998 in the ministry of 
C. B. Owen. 

Activities for Senior Citizens. Seniors in the Church were honored 
from time to time over these years and at one time formed a club, but it 
was only in 1994 that a program of activities for seniors was instituted. 

On 10 May 1970, senior citizens of the Church were honored at 
the Sunday-morning service and at a covered-dish supper that evening. 
According to Norwood Jones in the 24 April Messenger, the Church 
had 27 seniors who had been members for fifty years or more, as well as 
19 others who had at some time belonged to other churches. Sixteen 
members were 80 or over. In the same year, the Happy Hour Club for 
seniors resumed activities with a lunch at the Louisburg Baptist Church 
on 12 October. And an annual church supper honoring seniors was 
planned for later in the year. 

Senior Citizens' Appreciation Day in 1982 was 31 October, with a 
churchwide study of Hebrews led by Dr. Cecil Robbins following 
fifth-Sunday dinner in the Fellowship Hall (12 October 1982 
Administrative Board Minutes). 

Pam Gilliam, ministerial assistant in 1993-1994, initiated with 
Helen Benton a program of trips by van to shopping malls, museums, 
lunches in new restaurants, etc., for senior citizens. Veil (Mrs. Reney) 
Bennett became chair of Senior Adult Ministries in 1995, to be 
succeeded by Mary Bryant in 1998. 


Seniors outside the Church also were served. Each month the 
United Methodist Women held a birthday party at each of the rest 
homes in the county. "These old people really look forward to these 
parties and enjoy them immensely" according to Minister Vassar Jones 
in the Newsletter for April 1973. Brentwood and the Pines received 
visits that month. 

Vassar Jones reported in the Charge Conference Report for 18 
November 1973 two projects in the interests of seniors: The Task Force 
for the Aged, and services and visits to residents of rest homes. 

On 10 February 1974 the Administrative Board decided to let the 
federally funded Area Nutrition Program (Region K Senior Services, 
Inc.) use the fellowship hall to serve lunch to seniors of the community 
aged 60 or above. The Church was to be paid for the additional 
utilities. The motion, made by Carl Settle, was amended by Craig Eller 
to permit trial use of the facilities for three months and to review the 
decision at the next meeting of the Board on 20 April. The Nutrition 
Program continued to meet in the Fellowship Hall until the Louisburg 
Senior Center opened in 1990. 

The Church continued to offer monthly worship services at the 
Louisburg Manor retirement center, as Rick Clayton reported to the 
Charge Conference on 13 November 1995. 

Study Programs, Movies, Lectures. This list is meant to suggest the 
kinds of programs offered; it is not complete. Conference- wide 
programs appear under a separate heading. 

A movie on cancer, sponsored by the Social Concerns Committee, 
Lucy Burt, Chair, was shown on 9 February 1971, with Dr. B. L. 
Patterson commenting (Administrative Board Minutes). 

During vacation bible school in the summer of 1980, two night 
sessions for adults were held on the subject of handling grief. Each was 
attended by about twenty-five people (Administrative Board Minutes 
29 June 1980). 

Beginning 8 January 1981 the Church sponsored a study course on 
Mark offered by Cheryl Smith through Vance -Granville Community 
College on Thursday evenings from 7:00 till 10:00 p. m. at a cost of 
$16 per person (Administrative Board Minutes 6 January 1981). 

A study session on Hebrews led by Dr. Cecil Robbins, President 
Emeritus of Louisburg College, followed fifth-Sunday dinner in the 
Blount Fellowship Hall on 31 October 1982 (Administrative Board 
Minutes 12 October 1982). 

Beginning 27 January 1985 Dr. George -Anne Willard, Chair of the 
Outreach Committee and Professor of History at Louisburg College, 
offered a mission study on the subject of Korea. On three consecutive 


Sunday nights the subjects were the history of Korea, contemporary 
Korea, and the condition of the church in Korea. 

Professionals from the Franklin County Health Department 
presented "Parents: Let's Talk (How to Talk to Your Children about 
Sex)" to adults in the Blount Fellowship Hall on Sunday 28 January 
1995, 9:45 to 10:40 a.m. 

Disciple Bible Study, begun in 1993 and continuing in 1999, was 
initiated by Pastor Rick Clayton and designed as an integral part of 
spiritual growth for its members (Pastor's Report, Charge Conference, 
13 November 1995). The study groups, consisting of twelve 
participants, met weekly. Renovare was a follow-up to this project. In 
the fall of 1995 three Renovare groups met weekly, two on Sunday 
afternoon and one on Wednesday morning. The focus of these renewal 
groups was on "spiritual formation as a primary goal" (Pastor's Report, 
Charge Conference, 13 November 1995). 

Gifts. Caroline Macon (Mrs. Earle) Murphy was donor in 
November 1975 of electric tower bells and in May 1972 of sanctuary 

Conference-wide Programs. Late in 1972 a "Key '73" committee 
attended area meetings on a program to involve most of the Protestant 
churches in the United States, to be climaxed in this area by a rally in 
Raleigh led by Dr. Billy Graham. Martha Davis headed "Key '73" in the 
Louisburg church. The "North American Evangelistic Crusade" 
sponsored a Noon Prayer Call; the church bell was rung each day at 
noon, 1-6 January 1973, for those who wished to come to the Church 
for prayer (Newsletter^ December 1972). 

An offering was taken on 5 June 1978 to help restore Wesley's 
Chapel in London, a historic Methodist site (23 May 1978 
Administrative Board Minutes). 

"Our Preaching Mission" was held during November 1986 with 
seven meetings at various stations on Monday night, 10 November. In 
addition there were a 24-hour prayer vigil on Saturday night and a 
supper on Sunday night. The Rev. Vernon Tyson of Edenton Street 
Methodist Church, Raleigh, preached on Sunday, Monday, and 
Tuesday nights, 16, 17, and 18 November. 

The Church appointed a Vitalization Committee in 1990, with 
Doris (Mrs. George) Davis serving as chair, and applied for inclusion in 
the Conference Vitalization Project for intensive long-range planning. 
Only 72 churches could be accepted out of 270 applying; Louisburg 
was not selected. The local committee went forward with the work, 
however, using the book "Twelve Keys to an Effective Church." At the 


time of its report 13 December 1992 the committee was chaired by 
John Huston and included almost fifty members of the congregation. 

Vision 2000 was mandated by the Conference and discussed by the 
Administrative Board 16 May 1995. 

In the fall of 1995 three Renovare groups met weekly, two on 
Sunday afternoon and one on Wednesday morning. The focus of these 
renewal groups was on "spiritual formation as a primary goal" (Pastor's 
Report, Charge Conference, 13 November 1995) 

Bicentennial. The bicentennial of Methodism in America was 
celebrated in Louisburg on the anniversary of the Green Hill 
Conference, viewed as identical with the founding of the Louisburg 
Church. A Bicentennial Committee was organized in May 1983 to plan 
the celebration, with Martha Davis as chair. Members were Beth 
Norris, Grace Smith, Zelda Coor, Warren Smith, and Sidney Stafford 
(17 May 1983 Administrative Board Minutes). 

The Church's bicentennial was celebrated on 20-21 April 1985 in a 
variety of events that took place in town, at the church, at the College, 
and at Green Hill. All the churches of the North Carolina Conference 
were invited to attend. A pageant, written by Louisburg minister Dr. 
Milton Gilbert, was presented in the Louisburg College auditorium at 
11:00 and at 5:00 on Saturday. "The Upper Room: The Green Hill 
Conference" was directed by Ray Mize of Louisburg College, and both 
townspeople and College staff made up the cast and production staff. A 
videotape of the pageant is in the Cecil W Robbins Library of 
Louisburg College. 

The pageant was followed by a worship service in the auditorium at 
11:45 at which Bishop C. P. Minnick, Jr., preached. Bishop Minnick 
was introduced by the Rev. Dr. Joseph B. Bethea, administrative 
assistant to the bishop. The hymns included in the service were the 
18th-century Methodist hymn of gathering, "And Are We Yet Alive?" 
and Charles Wesley's "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing." 

Busses from the Church took groups to the Green Hill house for 
tours; there were walking tours and a continuous slide presentation. A 
Historical Research Committee searched for the site of the first 
Methodist church in Louisburg and established the northeastern 
corner of the intersection of Elm and Nash streets as the place. Green 
Hill plates designed by Ray Hodges and notepaper were on sale. A time 
capsule was prepared and embedded in the wall of the Blount 
Fellowship Hall. 

Sunday 21 April was Homecoming Sunday at the Church. A 
banner designed by Shirley Davis and made by the women of the 


Church was presented; in 1995 it hung in the stairwell of the Blount 
Fellowship Hall. 

A program called Ten Brave Christians was set in motion in 
connection with bicentennial; small groups met weekly for scripture 
reading and discussion, and the individuals making up these groups 
meditated and read at home in connection with these scripture 
passages. Three such groups were active during this period. 

Honors and Distinctions 

Both ministers and laymen have distinguished themselves from 
time to time in service to the Church. Dr. Cecil Robbins was honored 
as "Tar Heel of the Week" in the Raleigh News and Observer on Sunday, 
1 August 1965, at the midpoint of his twenty-year tenure as president 
of Louisburg College. He was a significant influence in the Louisburg 
church. The biographical summary highlighted Dr. Robbins's career as 
a Methodist minister and his views of the position of the church in 
society. (See Appendix for the article as reprinted in the North Carolina 
Christian Advocate. ) 

The Administrative Board and the Charge Conference on 10 
March 1973 accorded special recognition to Marguerite Harris (Mrs. 
Sam) Washington and to General Edward Foster Griffin for their 
"long, faithful, and honorable service." They were made honorary 
members of the Administrative Board. 

The Charge Conference of 17 October 1974 passed a resolution of 
appreciation for Eloise Sorrell (Mrs. Cecil) Robbins for fourteen years 
of service as organist of the Church. Mrs. Robbins retired as organist at 
about the same time that her husband, Dr. Cecil Robbins, retired as 
president of Louisburg College. 

Dr. J. Allen Norris, President of Louisburg College (1975-1992) 
and from time to time holder of a variety of Church offices, was chosen 
a delegate from the North Carolina Conference to the General and 
Jurisdictional Conferences of the United Methodist Church in 1980 
and in 1984. 

On Sunday, 24 October 1981, Lucy Perry Burt was honored by the 
Church on Lucy Perry Burt Day. Her primary area of activity in the 
Church was the Social Concerns Committee, which she chaired for 
some years. In this position she participated in the establishment of the 
Yolanda Jones Child Development Center and the locating of the Area 
Nutrition Program in the Fellowship Hall. Minister Stan Smith said 
that she also initiated sponsorship of birthday parties for nursing- and 
rest-home residents, which the UMW continues in the 1990s. 


Born in Louisburg, she graduated from Louisburg College and 
from Duke University and later studied sociology as a graduate student 
at UNC-Chapel Hill. Having worked with the WPA and the Wake 
County Juvenile Court and Welfare Department, she became in 1948 
Superintendent of Public Welfare for Franklin County and later worked 
for the State Welfare Department in Raleigh. She retired in 1967. 

Stan Smith was one of twelve ministers to enter a pilot program 
offered by the Conference at Lake Junaluska in 1983. The program 
included three seminars, the taping of each minister's sermons, and a 
review of the tapes (15 March 1983 Administrative Board Minutes). 

Dr. Wallace Kirby reported in 1991 that he was teaching each 
summer at Duke Divinity for an hour a day ("teachin' preachin'"). 

In the spring of 1993 a reception was held in the Blount Fellowship 
Hall honoring Joyce Barkman (Mrs. Walter) McDonald for more than 
three decades as Director of Music for the Church. In 1956 Joyce 
McDonald became choir director following I. D. Moon, when her 
husband became chaplain and professor of religion at Louisburg 

A mezzo-soprano soloist, she was trained at Westminster Choir 
College in Princeton NJ. As choir director she presented each year 
special musical services of distinction, including Handel's Messiah, 
Stainer's Crucifixion, Rutter's Service of Carols, and others. In 1957 she 
organized cherub, children's, and youth choirs, and early elicited the 
enthusiastic participation of Joseph A. Pearce, Jr., now church organist. 
Upon her retirement the choir room was named to honor Mrs. 

In 1994 Captain James Brown was honored at an 11:00 a.m. 
service by John Houston, Lay Leader, with an account of his career and 
services. Captain Brown joined the church in 1966 and over the years 
served as lay leader, trustee, and member and chair of various 
committees. A native of Chamberlain, South Dakota (b. 1912), he 
graduated from the United States Naval Academy. On December 7, 
1941, his ship in drydock at Pearl Harbor and set on fire in the Japanese 
attack, as ranking officer on board at the time (lieutenant junior grade), 
he gave the order to abandon ship. The subsequent explosion of the 
Shaw was the subject of a memorable World War II photograph. After 
long service in the Navy in which he earned a captaincy and many 
awards and medals, he retired in 1961, earned an M.A.T from Duke 
University, and taught mathematics at Louisburg College until his 
retirement in 1978. Captain Brown's wife is the former Ann Eslinger of 
Olmsted Falls, Ohio. 

On 21 January 1990 a plaque was presented to Matthew Maurice 
Person, Jr. proclaiming him trustee emeritus of the Church, a 
distinction never before offered by the Church. M. M. Person, Jr., was 


born in Franklin County, earned a degree in business administration 
from Bowling Green University in Kentucky, and became 
administrator of the original (1951) Franklin Memorial Hospital in 
Louisburg in 1958. During his administration the hospital was saved 
from debt and added new space and services. He served the Church 
from 1950 as treasurer, chair of one building committee and vice-chair 
of another, trustee, board member, lay leader, associate lay leader of the 
Raleigh district, chair of the Council on Ministries, and in other 

When the Church received one of the Governor's Statewide 
Volunteer Awards in the Church/Religious Organization category in 
1983, Mary Ann Walker (Mrs. M. M.) Person was selected to accept the 
award at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh. Mary Ann Person brought 
to the social-outreach work of the Church a degree in social work from 
UN C- Greensboro and professional experience in Wake and 
Mecklenburg counties. She served the Franklin County Department of 
Social Services intermittendy from 1950 until 1970 and full-time as 
services supervisor from 1970 until her retirement in 1980. Among the 
groups she headed in the Church were the Outreach Committee, the 
Social Concerns Committee, and the UMW She also taught Sunday 
school and promoted the establishment of the Yolanda Jones 
Developmental Center and Care and Share. 

Some Occasions, 1994-95, 1997 

Sunday, 28 August 1994. This was conference Sunday. Members 
were invited to dress casually, attend a shortened service, and stay for a 
conference after church at which a recommendation of the Expanded 
Building Committee would be reviewed and voted on. Most people 
attending wore their best jerseys and slacks, or, in the case of women, 
suits with shorts rather than skirts or perhaps slacks with blouses. 

Congregational hymn singing opened the service. The title of the 
sermon was "Do-Be-Do-Be-Do." This tide was set to the tune of Frank 
Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night," and the theme was the works-faith 
relationship. Faith makes us feel warm and glowing, but this faith must 
be acted upon; we must do as well as be. At appropriate intervals the 
minister turned to the pianist, who struck certain chords and 
accompanied the choir in singing "Do-Be-Do-Be-Do"; then the 
congregation sang the refrain with the choir. The minister apologized 
to "Old Blue Eyes" for borrowing his refrain. 

At the conference that followed the service, when perhaps a third of 
the audience had left, Jim Ward, architectural consultant for Duke 
University, opened his remarks with a tale about the minister. (When 


Rick Clayton decided to leave his previous charge, he told his 
congregation that he had consulted Jesus, who had told him to accept 
another charge. His congregation was stunned, but the choir director 
chose as the next hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus.") Turning 
to the theme of the conference, Ward said that faith was the warmth the 
congregation felt in their hearts when they chose to act by approving 
the recommendation of the Expanded Building Committee. 

Ward described the proportion of actual to usable space as poor in 
the present education building. The options were to demolish the 
building and replace it, or to build a new fellowship hall and renovate 
the education building in phases. 

The conference voted unanimously to proceed in these two phases. 
Formation of a committee was recommended to investigate fund 

Sunday, 29 January 1995. This was announced as a special Sunday 
for the Louis burg United Methodist Church: Bishop C. P. Minnick 
would preach. Although the day opened with snow, sleet, and a low 
temperature, the service went forward to an audience only slighdy 
reduced from its normal size. 

Rick Clayton's introduction of the bishop came during the 
children's sermon. The topic being "Make Love Your Aim," the 
introduction described the love of God shown through Bishop 
Minnick's life, the love of his parents for each other and for their child, 
the bishop's own love in choosing the ministry, and that of his wife, his 
children and grandchildren. 

When the minister began stating his subject to the children, he 
turned to present the bishop, who then left his seat in the pulpit and 
came down to sit on the edge of the platform with the children. The 
audience responded with warmth to the bishop's sitting on the floor 
with the children. At the end of the children's sermon the children 
gathered around to embrace and be hugged by the bishop. 

Bishop Minnick preached a moving sermon on the love needed to 
heal the open sores of the world. 

Christmas 1995. 1995 was a year of activities, many of them new: 
the mission work in Costa Rica; a trip to Norfolk for a boat ride on the 
bay; an excursion to Biltmore for Christmas; and other Christmas 
activities, including "Carols, Chimes, and Cider," a concert on 
December 21 with refreshments and a love offering to support the 
handbell ministry; "Christmas on Main," on December 17, "a live 
nativity scene, choirs to sing, the handbell choir to play, old-home 
tours, and quiet music of the season for meditation in the sanctuary." 


There were also luminaries on Main Street and Advent stockings 
sent to each family to be stuffed with change and placed on the rail on 
December 24 to support the Volunteers in Mission Committee 
(Volcan). The Missions Committee distributed gifts to nursing-home 
residents whose needs had been earlier described to the givers in the 
congregation. The UMW and UMM gave a Christmas party at the 
College on December 7. The Church's "first-ever" Hanging of the 
Greens took place on Sunday December 3, with all choirs participating 
as the sanctuary was decorated with wreaths, garlands, a Chrismon 
Tree, poinsettias, and candlelight (The Louisburg Link, December 1995, 
10 January 1996). 

Charge Conference, 27 October 1997. Although construction had 
begun on the new fellowship hall and the remodelling of the Blount 
Education Building, the Conference in June moved the Rev. Richard 
Clayton to St. Francis's United Methodist Church in Cary Rev. Charles 
Bruce Owens ("C.B.") began preaching in Louisburg in July 1997. 

In October, at the largest charge conference in recent years, 
presided over by District Superintendent Kermit Braswell, Mr. Owens 
received a hearty endorsement, following his presentation, from those 
present. The large attendance at the charge conference may have been a 
response to an invitation issued from the pulpit before the sermon the 
preceding Sunday by Bill Lord, chair of the Staff-Parish Relations 
Committee. Anyone who wanted to help evaluate the new minister, 
Lord said, could come to a meeting of the committee a half hour before 
the charge conference, which would take place in the Blue Room at 
Louisburg College following a desert hour. The offer illustrated the 
orchestration of support for the minister on the one hand and the vigor 
of his opposition on the other. He was seen as the supporter of family 
values and the promoter of Promise Keepers, for example, versus the 
fundamentalist interpreter of the Bible. Mr. Owens often described the 
congregation as divided. In the spring of 1999 the congregation 
learned that Mr. Owens would be replaced. 

In the Pastor's Report concerning the state of the church, Mr. 
Owens gave the church's membership figures in October 1997 as 610 
adults and 151 children under the age of twelve. 

Thanksgiving 1997. The Thanksgiving service, on 23 November, 
presented a "Portrait of Thanks" statement offered by each of six 
families, many of them new to the congregation, concerning the things 
they were thankful for. First came the Turners, Nathan, Cindy, and 
Jennifer. Nathan accompanied himself on the guitar in a song, "Thank 
You, Lord, for Your Mercy on Me," with country twang. The pastoral 
prayer was offered by the minister in street clothes. Then the Barr 


family offered their Portrait of Thanks — Rob, who spoke warmly and 
personally, Kay, and Marissa. Next came Chip and Dawn Davis and 
their two children, Charlie, who was characteristically smiling genially, 
and four-year-old Erin. After Chip had spoken, Dawn gave a personal 
history which expressed her emotions concerning certain recounted 
events of her life. 

The next family to speak were the Darrahs, recent members, for 
whom father Tommy made a statement that was personal and fully 
developed. Becky, who sings in the choir, spoke as well; the children are 
Thomas, Megan, and MacKenzie. Then came the Schaffers, Jeff, Terri, 
Luke, and Courtney. Last were the Howards, Steve, Teresa, who 
directed the young people's choir after the departure of Joy Clayton, 
and their children Jamie and Blake. Teresa's statement was both 
analytical and confessional concerning certain traits of her personality 
which brought about self-examination. 

The congregation had placed gifts on the harvest table before the 
service, and during the hymn singing at the conclusion everyone passed 
by and took a gift. 

Recognition of Eugenia May. On Sunday, 28 December 1997, 
Eugenia May, who had just completed twenty-seven years as secretary 
of the Sunday-school, was honored in a tribute from the floor by John 
Ihrie. When Eugenia began her term as secretary in 1970, Vassar Jones 
was minister and Robert Hicks superintendent of the Sunday school. 
Born in Franklin County, she is a long-time resident of Louisburg, 
having worked for Dr. James Wheless as his receptionist and assistant 
for about forty years. The Franklin Times on 3 October 1998 gave an 
account of a presentation to Eugenia by the Council on Ministries and 
the Sunday school of a gold cross necklace and a ceramic village church 
in view of her having yearly assisted in making ceramic churches to be 
sold at the bazaar. 


Administrative Board Minutes and Quarterly Conference Records, Louisburg 
United Methodist Church. 

Monthly newsletters of the Louisburg United Methodist Church, variously called 
The Messenger, The Newsletter, and The Louisburg Link. 

Wilke, Richard B. And Are We Tet Alive? The Future of the United Methodist 
Church. Nashville TN: Abingdon Press, 1986. 

. Signs and Wonders: The Mighty Work of God in the Church. Nashville TN: 

Abingdon Press, 1989. 



1. A Message from the Council of Bishops, April 1972 

[The Vietnam War] 256 

2. Bicentennial Day and thcFmnklin Times Account 257-265 

3. Proposal for a Preschool Program, 1984, 1990 266-268 

4. "Lucy Burt Honored for Caring," from The Wake Weekly^ 29 
October 1981 269 

5. "Dr. Cecil Robbins Honored as Tar Heel of the 
Week" 270-271 

6. "Seniors on the Go." The faces in the foreground are those of 
John MacKay and Doris (Mrs. George) Davis 272 



A Message From the Council of Bishops 

of the United Methodist Church 

April 1972 

The Bishops of the United Methodist Church in the United States 
have long condemned the immoral war in Indochina and are gratified 
to see the slow but steady homeward flow of American ground forces 
from Viet Nam. However, as United Methodists gather in Adanta, 
Georgia, for our General Conference we have no right to disregard the 
tragic intensification of the war in Southeast Asia. 

North Vietnamese troops have crossed the DMZ into South 
Vietnam. American B-52 superbombers, fighter bombers and naval 
gunboats are bombing and shelling North Vietnam with 
unprecedented fury. As the military situation escalates, negotiations 
have been broken off in Paris. 

In spite of the claims that the war is "winding down" it is not. The 
deadly conflict continues unabated. Sole blame cannot be fixed. Many 
nations continue to supply Hanoi and the Provisional Revolutionary 
Government with the materials of war. The United States continues to 
underwrite the Saigon government and the Army of the Republic of 
Viet Nam, providing highly technical antipersonnel weaponry, massive 
air cover and military counsel at virtually every level of command. Very 
few Americans are dying in Southeast Asia today, but Asian people, our 
brothers and sisters in God's love, continue to die as before. Once 
again villagers on both sides are being leveled, civilians are being 
slaughtered and the war is being escalated. This we deplore; our hearts 
go out to the innocent victims of what seems to be endless, senseless 

We call upon The United Methodist Church and its members to 
acknowledge our complicity in the Indochinese War, to repent and to 
seek God's forgiveness. 

We call upon The United Methodist Church and its members to 
pray and work for peace and the self-development of peoples around 
the world. 

We call upon The United Methodist Church and its members to 
exercise our rights and responsibilities as Christian citizens by seeking 
to influence and change those public policies that, for more than 
twenty years, have made possible and compounded military and 
political wrongs in distant lands. 



Come celebrate the Bicentennial 

of the first Methodist Annual Conference 

in north America 

April 20, 1985 
Green Hill House 


Schedule of the Day: 

10:00 a.m. — Visitor's Center and Museum 12:45-2:00 p.m. — Lunch 

opens. Registrations for Qreen Hill House — Served by Louisburg College. $3.00 per person 

Tours begin. 1:00-5:00 p.m. - Tours 

—Louisburg College Campus tl _. ._,,,. r . .. 

A) Walking tours of historical points of Interest on the 

10130 a.m. — Opening Ceremonies of Com- campus and in the town of Louisburg. 
memoration. (By Invitation Only) B > Bus tours of25 persons or lesstoQreen Hill Mouse 

-Qreen mil House 3:0 o p.m. — Celebrating Our Heritage in 

10:30 a.m. — A Methodist Hymn Sing...led Muslc 

bv Tonv Arao —Louisburg United Methodist Church 

-Louisburg College Auditorium 5:0 o p.m. — The Qreen Mill Conference In 

11:00a.m. -The Qreen Hill Conference In the Louisburg Community 

Drama. the Louisburg Community Players 
Plavers —Louisburg College Auditorium 

—Louisburg College Auditorium 

11:45 a.m. — A Service of Celebration and 
Remembering in Worship... Bishop C. P. 
Minnick, preacher 

—Louisburg College Auditorium 

On April 20, 1785, the first Annual Conference session of Methodism in North 
America was held at the Qreen Hill House in Louisburg, north Carolina, following 
the Christmas Conference in December of 1784, which organized the Methodist 


April 20, 1985 

10:00 a.m. - WORSHIP SERVICE - Louisburg College Auditorium. 

Bishop Minnick - Sermon 

11:00 a.m. - PAGEANT - Louisburg College Auditorium 

Depicting beginning of Methodism in 
America with emphasis on role 
played by Methodists in North Carolina. 
Reenactment of conference held at 
Green Hill House, April 20, 1785. 

Committee: Beth Nor ris, Chairman 
Grace Stafford, Milton Gilbert 
Ray Mize, Director 

12:00 -5:00 -TOURS 
(10:00 a.m. -4:30 p.m.) 

A. Green Hill House. Bus tours to Green Hill 
House leaving college grounds every 30 minutes. (30 
persons per tour) 

Committee at House: Marybelle Davis and Charles 

Davis, co-chairmen 
Margaret Freeman, Caroline 

B. Walking Tour (will feature the following places of 

(1) Academy building where Louisburg College 

(2) Museum containing items of historical 
interest to Methodists 
Committee: Linda Cottrell, Chairman 
Julia Kornegay 

Myra Wilson 

(3) Dr. Ellis Malone Home. House constructed 

in classic Greek Revival style. 

(4) Crenshaw Home 


(5) Governor T. W Bickett Home. Present home 
of Louisburg College President and Mrs. J. 
Allen Norris. 

(6) Person Place. Owned by Louisburg College. 
Presently being renovated by Franklin County 
Person Place Society. House has a Georgian 
section, a later and more elaborate Federal 
section and numerous additions from various 

(7) Main Building at Louisburg College 

(8) Saint Paul's Episcopal Church 

(9) Slide Presentation. A continuous presentation 
of places in and around Louisburg of interest 
to Methodists and historians alike. Since this 
will be set up at the Louisburg College 
Library, one might either begin or end the 
walking tour at this point. 

Committee Chairman: Janet Hatley 

Walking Tour Committee: Bill Lord and 
Sidney Stafford, Co-Chairmen 
Young Adult Sunday School class 

Coordinating Committee: Shelby and Buddy 

Street, Chairmen 

Fellowship Sunday School Class 

This committee will primarily be responsible 

For tours to Green Hill - loading buses, 

signing people up for tours and scheduling 

groups. They will also work with walking 

tours in distributing literature, etc. 

Brochures containing historical sketches of each of 
these buildings are being printed. All of these are 
situated near Louisburg college. This is therefore a 
walking tour. 


LUNCH - There are quite a few restaurants serving a variety of 
meals in Louisburg. Along with the fast food 
restaurants of McDonald's, Sunshine Biscuit, Tastee 
Freeze, and Hardee's, there is a Pizza Hut, the 
Murphy House featuring buffet as well as a varied 
menu, the Fountain - similar to Darryl's, and the 
Golden Corral. The National Whistler's Convention 
will be held that weekend, and various groups will be 
serving meals as well as snacks in downtown 


I. Some idea of number of people planning to attend. 

A. This will determine whether or not the drama will be 
presented twice. 

B. Area restaurants need to know so that they can better plan. 

II. Would be helpful to know approximately how many people are 
interested in Touring Green Hill, so that tours can be better 

We would like to encourage people to come in costume. Members of 
our congregation are being urged to do this. We feel that this would 
add gready to the enjoyment of the occasion. 


The Order of Worship 

The Green Hill House Bicentennial Celebration 

April 20, 1985- 11:45 a.m. 
Louisburg College Auditorium 

THE PRELUDE Miss Sarah Foster. Pianist 

Professor of Music 
Louisburg College 


THE HYMN (•) And Are We Yet Alive 


AND THANKSGMNG (*) The Reverend Geraldlne D. Ingram, rastor 

Frankllnton United Methodist Church 



The Reverend Lawrence E. Lugar, Chair of the Bicentennial Task Force 
Dr. Allen Norn's, President of Louisburg College and Conference Lay Leader 


ANTHEM Louisburg College Ensemble 

Miss Foster, Director 


Isaiah 52: 715 Mr. Robby Lowry, Member 

General Council on Ministers 


The Epistle Hebrews 12: 12. 1217 

The Gospel Matthew 28: 16-20 

Mrs. Eunice Caraway, Member 
Bicentennial Task Force 

THE PRAYERS The Reverend Junius Neese, C/>a/r 

N.C. Conference Historical Society 

Anthem Louisburg College Ensemble 

INTRODUCTION OF THE BISHOP The Reverend Dr. Joseph B. Bethea 

Administratis Assistant to the Bishop 

THE SERMON Bishop C.P. Minnick, Jr.. Resident Bishop 

Raleigh Area 

THE HYMN (*) O For a Tlwusand Tongues to Sing 


POSTLUDE Miss Foster 

• Please stand; see reverse side for litany and hymixs 

CommeratJve plates and stationery of Green Hill House are on sale at the reception center. 



And Are We Yet Alive 

And are we yet alive, And see each 
other's face? Glory and thanks to Jesus 
give. For his almighty grace. 

What troubles have we seen, What mighty 
conflicts past, Fightings without, and fears 
within. Since we assembled last! 

Yet out of all the Lord Hath brought us 
by his love; And still he doth his help 
afford, And hides our life above. 

Then let us make our boast Of his 
redeeming power. Which saves us to the 
uttermost. Till we can sin no more. 

Let us take up the cross. 1 ill we the 
crown obtain, And gladly reckon all things 
loss. So we r lay Jesus gain. Amen. 

A Litany ofRembrance and Thanksgiving 

O God. who art the Father and Mother of us all: Grant 
your blessing upon us who are gathered here, and upon 
the multitudes of every name who are joined with us in 
one household of faith throughout the world. 

We offe> unto thrr () Cod our thanksgiving, and 
co/7ic to paii nut vows to the Most High. 

We remember our loreparents, especially our Methodist 
family, and all who have wrought righteousness, even 
down to the present day. 

Giant unto tts. O God. that we mag have our pad and 
lot with all thy saints. 

We remember all whom wo love and who love us. both 
those who have fallen asleep and those whose presence 
still blesses us. 1 hanks he to thee for their benediction 
upon our lives. 

Establish thou the work of thou l\ands. and keep us 
in one spit it with them 

O God. the fountain of a\\ goodness who has been 
gracious to us through all the years of our life: We give 
you thanks for your loving kindness which has filled our 
days and brought us lo this lime and place 

We praise thu holg name. O Lord. Amen 

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing 

O for a thousand tongues to sing My 
great Redeemer's praise, The glories of my 
God and King, The triumphs of his grace! 

My gracious Master and my God, Assist 
me to proclaim, To spread thro' all the 
earth abroad The honors of thy name. 

Jesusl the name that charms our fears, That 
bids our sorrows cease, Tis music in the 
sinners' ears, Tis life, and health, and peace. 

He breaks the power of canceled sin. He 
sets the prisoner free; His blood can make the 
foulest clean; His blood availed for me. 

He speaks, and listening to his voice, New 
life the dead receive; The mournful, broken 
hearts rejoice; The humble poor, believe. 

Hear him. ye deaf: his piaise. ye dumb, Your 
loosened tongues employ; Ye blind, behold your 
Savior come; And leap, ye lame, for joy. Amen. 



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Page 6, THE FRANKLI.N T[MES. Louisburg. N. C. Monday. April 15. 1985 

T3 HI IB gJ £&**-:& 

Q> ii2|:#3'frls-3|-s ld|.s 







1. Purpose of Program. The purpose of our program is to provide a 
loving, child-centered, learning atmosphere for preschoolers. 

2. Philosophy, (a) Our program will seek to provide unique and 
individually appropriate experiences for each child in order that he/she 
learn more about him/herself, others, and his/her own world. 

(b) Our program will seek to provide the social, emotional, academic, 
and spiritual needs of every child. 

(c) Our program will seek to encourage creative expression through 
music, art, and play. 

(d) Our program will seek to enable the children in problem -solving, 
enhance language skills, and develop fine and gross motor skills. 

3. Facilities. Our preschool program would utilize Louis burg United 
Methodist Church's regular Preschool Sunday School rooms. Upon 
approval some of the same equipment (e.g. tables, chairs, etc.) will be 
used by the Preschool and Sunday School. The Preschool will provide 
all needed personal equipment, materials, and supplies (easels, paper, 
crayons, paints, puzzles, etc.). Upon approval Louisburg United 
Methodist Church playground equipment will be used by the 
Preschool. Any painting or fixing up of the classroom will be done by 
the Preschool with the Church's approval. 

4. Rent and Utilities. The Preschool will be willing to reimburse 
Louisburg United Methodist Church for the use of space and utilities. 

5. Insurance. A $500,000 Insurance Policy will be purchased through 
Hodges Insurance Agency, Inc. by the Preschool to cover all liability in 
the building and on the playground; any illness as a result of snacks 
prepared for the children; and abuse. 

6. Time. Our program will be offered five days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 
12:00 a.m., Monday - Friday. We will follow the same schedule as 
Franklin County Schools for holidays, vacations, and foul weather. The 
program will operate on a nine month basis. 


7. Tuition and Fees. All tuition and fees will be handled by the 

8. Staff. Two teachers will teach the Tuesday and Thursday three year 
old class and the Monday, Wednesday and Friday four year old class. 

9. Enrollment An average of 12 children will be in each class. A 
minimum of 20 students will be needed to start this program. 

A Typical Day for a 3 or 4 Year Old: 

Good Morning (Show and Tell) 

Center Time (Block Play, Housekeeping, 


Art Project 

Circle Time 

Outside Play 


Story Time 




Be it resolved that: 

The Administrative Council of the Louisburg United Methodist 
Church approve a request, received on June 2, 1986, from the Raleigh 
Y.WC.A. to use two classrooms in the church's education facilities on 
Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for the 
purpose of operating a pre-school program and one additional 
classroom for a "Mother's Time Out" program on Thursday morning. 
It is understood in this motion that this pre-school will be for three and 
four year-old children and will be staffed by qualified teachers. It is 
understood that the "Mother's Time Out" program will be for infants 
through two-year olds and will be held on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 
noon. It is further understood as part of this motion that the Y.WC.A. 
will accept all liability for the program and will be totally responsible 
for the program's administration and operations. Be it further resolved 
that the Administrative Council direct the Board of Trustees of the 
Louisburg United Methodist Church, in accordance with paragraph 
2532 of the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist 
Church — 1984, to negotiate all matters of fees and insurance with the 
Raleigh Y.WC.A. and when they as a majority of the Trustees are 
satisfied to the details, be empowered to enter into contract with the 
Raleigh Y.WC.A. for the operation of a pre-school and a "Mother's 
Time Out" program at the Louisburg United Methodist Church. 





J)r. (.'ceil VV. linhhius Honored As Tar Heel of ihe Week 

«'l hi.- :.,|i. I- I:: l:il«>» fflll H" U:.M:;ll N-mvm 
iiinl «•»«« i -t i. S.inilav. Ai>Kii!<l I, I!"'.'', ninl was 
w.HI. i. \.\ >;■><■■ II, «•(.,. M.-iff u-rllKI.) 

"On :i l.i.i wmim dnv »l Louisbmg Col 
lege, tin cannon nimble of the world scorns 
fa, away. Tlir astonishing rommnljon of 
(In- leonine, present-day campus is tin! even 
fin echo 

On llio shadv cast campus arc oak groves 
niimm; uhich Union cavalry camped J 00 
ycais ago. Tl«cre is mi old frame building 
which housed the i>riffinn1 Franklin Acade- 
my chartered in 1787 that marked the be- 
ginning dl lh<- Methodist junior college. 

Thiil K ihic side of l.ouishurg College 
On llw ollu-i side, arc two sleek dormitories 
emblazoned with lite bright colors and clean 
linos of modern architecture, and the while 
ma. We face of Ihe now library being built 

In tin- oflii ■«• of its president, the suspi- 
cion is coufiimcd tbal Louisburg College is 
no lougei a campus of llir pasl bill n junioi 
college striving In enter if not the commo- 

lion. ;il least ill.- cx< ilomenl of today's high- 

c. education 

llmwlh I'd,,,} 

Since I).. Cecil W. Hobbhw came to 
[.otn'shnrg 10 years ago. thai college hits 
iiiidergone the erenlcsl period of growth 
in its 178 \ ear history. 

In the past 10 years, cniollmenl lias lii- 
pled. faculty doubled, and majoi structures 
iiave been ad. led; a central healing planl, 
;i college union cafeteria, a mens residence 
hall, a women's residence hall; and the orig- 
inal campus, which includes a classroom 
building and a fine a. Is building, has been 

Construction began in }anunrv on a new 
library which will eosi more thai) $375,000. 
The academy restoration anil a new science 
building ate on ihe drawing board. 

Or. bobbins has a goal for students who 
l-onie lo his campus, loo, thai thev no| "set 
tie down to lives of dull medioeiitv, lives 
of least icsistance." 

I'ririuf and Critic 

A pniiche, l.v (idling and a newspaper 
■ nan l.v inclination, I )i Itohhins is both 
friend and ciitie of ihe present generation 
..I college sl.idents. 

'Slud-nts have a lot mole Sense than 
adults give I hem eiedit for." lie says. "Ihev 
fc lluoiigh sham and hyjwicrisv more quick- 
Iv linn adults. 

"So main people are afraid lo let eon 
Iroveisial issues be discussed on the col- 
lege campus. This attitude was epitomized 
bv the legislature that passed Ihe speaker 
ban law." IV Hol.l.ins continues, "but 
students aie capable of distinguishing be- 

Jwee, e and fake, nod of making lip 

Iheii invii minds. 

"Ibis generation of young people has 
grown u|> in a lime of material prosj>eritv. 
They have had opportunities my geueiation 
didn't have. They have had mote freedom. 

"I cannot say thai llley are heller oi woise 
(than ihe older gcnoalinn) I I an sav 
thev have had a pool example <:el for them. 

"Young people lodav a.e more aid, 
more socially sensitive more alive Thev 
.bo aie more difficult lo deal with." 

bW <>,„ N./,M„V 

l)i bobbins says lodav "I'heie is a re 

\V. RoniiiNs 

snigcnce of emphasis on fieedom, some- 
limes without awaioness of Ihe responsi- 
bility that goes with it. I have lold my 
students I would like to give them as much 
lespoi.siliililv in self-government as they 
are willing to assume responsibility." 

"I am not alarmed al the questioning of 
today's students. I am more afraid of the 
pet. son who accepts everything he hears 
than of Ihe person who questions Students 
<|iieslion everything, they always have. Only 
now ihev an- more open and bolder," 

Or bobbins comments that "it isn't easy 
to he a Christian college in a lime when em 
phasis is placed on scientific technology 
and malcialism. 

Mis idea of a Christian college is not 
one of restrictions thai shut out the woild 
bol "a vital community dealing with vital 
issues of today, when- the student is con- 
fronted with his relationship to Cod and to 
his lellowman." 

just as |)i. bobbins is ciilical of a tna- 
leiialislic. secula, age. he is also cilical of 
Ihe chinch whose minislci is 

"The chinch is in dauget of becoming 
a status symbol. It is the last In move and 
often deals with mailers thai aren't .import 
mil. I do not think that young people lo- 
dav question Christianity 'uml the Cnspel 
as much as Ihev rpirstion the chinch." 
Arlirr t„ Chirrh 

Although ho is a college president. [,) r . 
bobbins is active within the ..»gaoi/.at.iou 
of ihe Methodist Chinch in mattes thai 
ate important. As vice piesidenl of the 
Board of Clnislian Social Com-eim of ihe 
North Carolina Confc.ence of the Meth- 
odist Chinch. Dr. bobbins helped draft 
the slalcmcnl on race recenlly presented In 
the annual Conference iiiecti'iig ill |unc 

As editor and manage ol ihe North Car- 
olina Ch.isliao Advocate, a Melhodisl pub- 
lication with a circulation of 31,000, from 
JJM9-I9J55. I). Hoi, bins wrote on topical 
issues including a debate on "Methodism's 
fink Fliuge" with which lie look issue and 
he savs. "became identified will, the liberal 
clement of the chinch." 

Thus,- who know him saV he is mill,,-, 
libcial no, conservative, hill in ihe wo,, Is 
of lames Annum, executive diieclo, of the 
iissoeialion of Methodist collci'ecs- ,.| the 

Noilh Carolina Conference, "a humble man 

6 NoiU'll Caiioi.ina Christian Ai>vocate 


of definite convictions and a real concern 
for young people." 

Cecil w. bobbins was born on a cotton 
farm neai Shannon, Miss., in 1900. His 
parents. Mi and Mrs. R. I. Rnhbins. are 
still living near the faun whore Cecil, his 
boil her and I wo sistcrrs were reared. 

As :i young boy, Dr. bobbins walked t<> 
a three mom country school bouse three 
miles from his home. When he got tired 
of that mode of transportation, he traded 
his guitai fni a bicycle. 

A few years lain he rode in bonny '•* 
\hf high school in Shannon, and his senior 
yesir, lie hopped a ride with a friend in a 
I '-model Ford. "That ought In represent 
some kind of evolution," he says. 

From Shannon. Dr. bobbins went In Rir- 
minghnm-Snulhern College with the full in- 
tentjnn of becoming a newspaperman, lie 
worked his way through college writing 
lor a Birmingham newspaper in the after- 
noons and evenings, an cexperienee of 
earning his own money which every stud- 
ent ought to have, he says now. 

Although he changed his mind about 
journalism in Iris sophomore year and decid- 
ed to become a minister. Dr. Robbing said 
he continued his interest in writing. It was 
long his habit to write one new sermon 
a week. 

He also had the habit of walking a mile 
before breakfast, some hip I rouble 
last fall interferred. Still he wakes up not 
later than ft a. in. 

"As they say. yon can yet a boy out of 
of the country, hot not the country out of 
a boy." he remarks. 

Dnke Srhnhirxhip 

In 1930, the young Mississippian came 
to Dnke University Divinity School on a 
scholarship from Duke Endowment. In the 
summer of 1932, he preached in a patlicu- 
larly important revival in Vance county, lie 
got only one convert, bnl "that one stuck." 
It was has wife, the former Eloise Sorroll 
(if Chapel Hill, who was playing the organ 
in hei ginudmolhcr's church. 

They were married in April 1033, and 
in June. Dr. bobbins received his R.I), de- 
gree from Duke, with the help of his new 
w.ifo who tvped his thesis. 

Dr. Rohbms joined the N C. Conference 
of the Methodist Chinch in 1032 and was 
ordained Deacon in 1931, and Fldci in 
1930. Rcrweeen the years I9.'t2 1919. lie 
served pastorates at Marncrs: Jenkins Me- 
morial Church. Raleigh; Fremont; Mount 
Olive; and Warrentnn. 

During his parlorale in Wayne County. 
at Fremont and Mount Oljve. Dr. bobbins 
remembers one special occasion. A wom- 
en's circle invited a musical group from 
Seymour Johnson Air Force base to play 
for a church meeting. Somebody along 
the line fooled the order, and when the 
group turner! up it gave out with some louVl 

Sflte Ihr Jokr 

"We jnst sat there, Rvcrybody was loo 
embarrassed to move." he recalls. "Rut 
later we saw the joke, and I guess the I ,ord 
had a good laugh over it too." 

Later the theater manager in the town 
accused Dr. Rnhbins of operating in com- 
petition with him. 

hi 1949, the formei newspaper man re- 
(Continued on pnge 18) 

Dr. Cecil Robbins 

Continued from ;>qge 6) 

turned to his old herd and became editor of 
tlie .Yorfn Carolina Carolina Christian Aiivo- 
>:uw. whose circulation he raised from 
13.000 to 31.000. 

While editor, he spent i summer in Aus- 
tria and Germany us Counselor for a \\ C. 
Conference European Youth Caravan work- 
ing vith refugees, xn exDerjence he terms 
When he was asked in June. 19.55. to 
become president of Louisburg College. "I 
didn't want to leave the Advocate. But I 
also didn't think invthing was more im- 
portant than working with young people. 
I wanted to serve where I was needed mk{ 
could do the most good." 

Dr. and Mrs. Robbins aren't ^oing to 
leave Louisburg. Tliev recently bought a 
house of their own oot far from the College 
;o that thev L ;ui stav in the pleasant tree- 
idled !ittJe town after he retires from tha 

Mrs. Robbins :s organist at the Methodist 
church and at the college, and it looks like 
thev are there to stav. 

Meanwhile Dr. Robbms is working on 
making Louisburg College, the oldest char- 
tered institution operating as i junior col- 
lege, one of the best junior colleges around. 








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Acolytes, 1971 238 

Activities for Church Volunteers, 1995 

234 - 235 

African- Americans 18,26,78,90,94- 
95, 109 - 110, 116, 123, 127, 139, 163, 235 

converts at camp meeting 95 

denied gallery 110 

formal withdrawals 110 

members in 1850, 1864, 1866 109 - 

members of "colored class" 94 

Aldersgatc 2 

Allen Place, Hwy 561 46, 106 

Allen, Beverly 17 

Alien, Elizabeth 120, 127, 167 - 168, 195 

Allen, Mary Davis (Mrs. Ivcy) 1 19, 129 - 
131, 146, 158, 164, 166, 173, 177 

president of Louisburg College 1 73, 


Rev. F. A. Bishop on 173 
Allen, Will, student associate 240 
Alternative Worship, 1972-1998 245 
Andrews, Columbus C. 121 
Anglican Church 2, 5, 66, 104 
Annexes 59,215 

addition of 1999 244 

fellowship hall 1957 215 

Sunday school and ladies parlor, 1914 

Arcndal/Arcndcll, Rev. William, "Parson 
Arnold" 57 - 58, 74, 77, 89, 91, 94, 104, 

Armenian Magazine 44 

Asbury, Francis 6, 12, 13, 14, 16, 21, 28, 
29, 35, 52, 63, 66, 72 

and Green Hill 16,17 

and Ormond 78 

and Poythrcss 70 - 72 

on North Carolina 14 

organization of American Methodist 
groups 52 


Babbittry 170, 195 

Baglcy, Cora D. 174 

Baker, Burwcll 58, 89, 91, 158 

Baker, George Strother 1 17, 129, 131, 
139, 141 - 142, 148, 153, 158 - 159, 176, 

Baker, James 32 

Banks Chapel 54, 77 

Baptist movement in North Carolina 3 

Kchukec Baptist Church 3 

Reedy Creek Church 3 

Barrow, Mrs. Julia 144 - 146, 165 

Bcaslcy, William Lee, family of 200 

Bcckwith, Kate (Mrs. Sidney Thomas) 
143 - 144, 165 - 166, 179 

Bell, Robert 42 

Bennett, Grace 5, 26 

Bennett, William 5, 27 

Benton, Mr. and Mrs. William J. (Betsy) 
204, 225 

Benton, Helen 232, 240 

Benton, Wayne 213 

Best, Edward Lee 1 5 1 , 1 77, 1 8 1 , 1 84, 
187, 190, 202 

Bicentennial Celebration, 1985 248 - 249 

Bishops visiting Louisburg, 1852-1861, 1895 

Black, William 18 

Blount, George S. 59,209,212,214- 

Bobbitt, John 102,157 

Bowdcn, Louis Barnes, family of 200 

Bowman, Henry, converted by John King 

Branch, Washington 57 - 58, 91 

Brent, O.J. 136, 153, 156 

Brickell, William 57 

Brooks, Pauline Hill (Mrs. John) 49, 54, 
57, 91, 97, 102 - 103, 114, 120 - 123, 126, 

describes congregation in 1857 97 - 

journal of 120 - 123 

opposes secession 123 
Brown, Anne (Mrs. Edward) 231 
Brown, Peyton 100, 102 
Bruce, Philip 17,91 
Budget, 1957-1958 210 
Building Committee, 1988 242 
Building Programs, 1955-1970 214 - 215 

George Blount Fellowship Hall 215 

parsonage, 1955 215 


renovation of sanctuary, 1 969 215 

Bunyan, John 52 - 53 

Burt, Dr. Samuel Perry 143, 147, 179, 
184, 190,204 

Burt, Lucy Perry 185, 204 - 205, 213, 
215, 224, 227, 232, 238, 246, 249 

Business culture 194 - 196 

bridge clubs 195 

Chamber of Commerce, 1909 194 

country club 195 - 196 

germans 194 

Jaycees 194 

Louisburg Baseball Association 194 

Bute County v, 6, 8 - 9, 1 1, 15, 27 - 28, 

Buxton, John 85 

Byrd, William 1-2,14 


Camp Meetings 2 1 , 47, 63, 68, 88, 94 - 
96, 101 

Brooks on 94 

Dromgoolc on 94 

origins 94 

Cannon Family 21 

Care and Share, 1983 233 

Cash, W. J., on plantation social order 

Census, Religious, with Baptists, 1972 

Centennial Celebration, Louisburg, 1879 

Chapels and Churches in Franklin County, 
1847 89 - 90, 92 

Chase, Rev. Thomas 37 

Children's Church 178 

"Little Church for Youth," 1971 238 

monthly children's Sunday 179 

Choirs 105, 148, 179, 181, 188, 221 - 

Cherub Choir 240 

directors of adult choir 1 89, 22 1 

Ellcr, Craig 1992- 222 

Moon, Prof. I. D. 1938-1957 
189, 204, 221, 222-223 

McDonald, Joyce (Mrs. Walter) 
1958-1992 222 

in 1859 106 - 107 

Joyful Singers 240 

Junior 1929, 1951 181, 221 

Youth Choir 222 

"Christian Education" in a secular society 

A. D. Wilcox on Louisburg College and 
the Church 176 

Church building, 1900 59, 148 - 152 
bell 152 

dedication 22 May, 1904 150 
first service in, 13 July, 1900 150 
fund-raising by women 149 
pulpit furniture 152 
sanctuary expansion 178 
windows 150 - 152 

Church buildings of Louisburg Methodists 
Nash and Elm streets 56 - 57 
North Main and Smoketree Way 57 
Main and Noble 148-152 

Circuit riders 61 - 63 

accommodations 74 - 75 

of early circuits 61-63 

of Tar River Circuit, 1 779- 1 800 64 

pace of travel (Ormond) 76 

"quarterage" paid for riders, 1847 93 

role of 63 

with the "Devil's Servants" 74 

Circuits, early, 1770-1800 8, 61 - 62 

Civil War 16, 88, 99, 104 - 105, 108, 
110, 116, 124, 151, 153 - 154, 156, 160, 
163, 170, 188, 192, 195 

cavalry arrive in Louisburg 121 

Church functioning during war 125 

D. S. Hill anticipates 120 

departure of family servants 123 

economy in Louisburg (Matthew Davis) 

expecting Yankees during church 

Federal troops quartered in Louisburg 

local casualties 121 

replacement of Rev. Mr. Moran 123 

Sunday School reopened, 1866 122 

Yankee soldiers in church 122 

Classes, in Louisburg congregation, 1847 


Clayton, Joy (Mrs. Rick) 240, 254 

Closs, Dr. William 104 - 105, 153, 163 


Cobb, Rev. A. Gene vii 

Coke, Thomas, Dr. v, 1 7, 70 

Cokcsbury School, MD 14, 70, 8 1 

Cole, Capt. Nathan 59, 148, 163, 207 

Cole, LcRoy 41,62,64 

College and Church relations, 1940-1970 

225 - 228 

Cecil Robbins and 206, 213, 220, 
227, 249 

Conference grant to College 227 

faculty and staff active in congregation 
227 - 228 

families adopt students 226 

Hamilton Hobgood and 199, 204, 
224, 226 - 228, 238 

I. D. Moon and 189, 204, 208, 221 

- 222, 226 - 227, 250 

ministers teaching at College 228 

removal to Rocky Mount proposed 


shared church school 228 

College attendance, of Church members 

Recognition Sunday, 3 1 December, 
1995 240 

Collegian, The (Louisburg Female College) 

Collins, Dr. Thomas A., district 
superintendant 243 

Committees and training groups, 1926-1937 

Bishop's Crusade, 1937 189 

Knights of Ezelah 189 

Methodist Youth Fellowship 189 

Spiritual Life Group 1 89 

Vance-Franklin Young People's Union 

Committees, Commissions, and Work Areas, 
1947-1970 211 

Confederate monument on Main Street 

Conferences, Methodist vi, 5, 17, 34, 37, 
42, 46, 56, 61, 70, 75, 78, 88, 92, 107 

annual, in Louisburg, 1820-1861 

with Bishop Capers, 1852 107 

with Bishop J. O. Andrew, 1861 

Charlotte, December, 1871 135 

letter on, from Matthew S. Davis 

Christmas, 1784 33-34 

first American after formation v, 17 

Mocksville 1864 121 

of 18th and 19th centuries 180 

quarterly, 1865 122 

Raleigh District, 1885 (Annie T. Fuller) 


Raleigh District, in Louisburg, 1899 

delegates to 131 

Jonathan Daniel's account in News 
and Observer 131-132 

Matthew S. Davis's address 132 

Conference- wide Programs, 1972-1995 


Congregation in 1859, described 97 - 106 

Congresses, North Carolina Provincial 5 

Conversion, as experience 2, 53, 73 

Comwallis, Gen. 10-11 

Cottcn family of Pitt County 66 - 67 

Cottcn, Bruce 65 

Crusade for Christ 208 - 209 

Council members 208 - 209 

goals expanded, 1948, 1957 209 

objectives concerning world order 

Cunninggim, Rev. J. A. ("Uncle Jesse") 

96, 110, 120, 123, 131, 136, 145, 153 - 154 

Currituck Courthouse 3, 5, 61 - 62 


Daniels, Josephus 132 

Davie, William R. 7 

Davics, Samuel 2, 5 

Davis, Charles, architect 214 

Davis, Charles M. 8, 213, 221, 231, 236, 

Davis, Doris (Mrs. George) vii, 114, 231, 


Davis, Edith M. (Mrs. Kenneth H.) 233 

Davis, Edward Hill 8, 45, 163, 188 - 189, 

and Green Hill House 8 

and Men's Bible Class 188 

death of 220-221 

Davis, George D. 204, 244 

Davis, Kenneth Holmes 238 

Davis, Louisa Hill (Mrs. Matthew S.) 45 - 
46, 135, 152, 163 


Davis, M. Stuart 59, 176 - 178, 184, 194, 


architect of 1912 annex 59, 221 

replaces Baker as trustee 1 76 

Davis, Mabel Irwin 45, 57, 143, 166, 180 
- 181 

"Louisburg and Methodism" 180 
Davis, Martha (Mrs. Charles M.) 247 - 

Davis, Marybelle Macmillan (Mrs. George D.) 

Davis, Matthew S. 22, 45, 103, 117, 130, 
132, 135, 144, 150, 152, 154, 157, 163 - 
164, 174, 184 

address to Raleigh District Conference 

letter from Charlotte Conference 135 

Louisburg Church dedication 150 

president, Louisburg College 157 - 
Davis, May Holmes (Mrs. M. Stuart) 209 

Davis, Sarah Louisa (Mrs. Matthew S.) 

Davis Memorial Fund 174 

Day of intercession 52 

Deed to Lot 22, Main and Noble, 1850 

Deed to Lot 87, Nash and Elm, 1830 57 

Dent, Lucy (Mrs. "Dolly" Thomas) 102, 

Depression, the 169, 182, 192 - 194, 198 

assistance to "negroes" 193 

Christian Social Relations Committee 


low morale, 1932 192 

response to economic conditions 194 

student and orphan supported 192 

support for "County Home" 192 

welfare tree for needy 192 

Dickins, John 28, 41, 62, 64, 66 

Discipline 56, 137, 182 

and Manifest Destiny 138 
card parties, 1906 182 

"conduct unbecoming a Methodist" 


dancing and card playing 138 
dancing and drinking, 1904 182 
misbehavior in church 137 

neglect of Lord's Supper, 1 909 1 82 

"sinful and worldly members," 1914 

stewards absent from meetings, 1913 

Dodson, Eleanor Beasley (Mrs. Taylor) 

Doub, Prof. W. C. 128 

Dromgoole, Edward 32, 44, 61 - 69, 75, 
94, 157 

and John Haggerty 67 

and Robert Strawbridge 65 

and Walton Family 65 

Asbury on 66 

Bruce Cotten on 65 - 66 

children 66 - 67 

correspondence of, Southern Historical 

Collection 66 

Dromgoole's Chapel 67 

"Irish eloquence" 68 

marriage 65 

memorial service at "Canaan," 1974 

on John King 44 

opposed separation from Anglican 
Church 66 

physical appearance 66 

recanting Catholic 65 
Dromyrick Chapel 77 
Drugs and alcohol 212, 220, 232, 238 

and youth 238 

discussion with Hamilton Hobgood 


Duke, Benjamin N . 1 58, 1 73 

Duke, Washington 129 - 130, 132, 158, 

and Louisburg Female College 129 

and stock company 129 

granted rent-free use of property 132 

retained College under management of 




Edenton, NC 9, 62, 66 
"Education Sermon" 177 

attention to members attending colleges 


Egcrton Place 103, 130, 163 - 164 
Egerton, R. Z. 131, 148, 154, 183 


Egcrton/Wynnc house purchased, 1976 


Eighteenth century in North Carolina 9, 

3, 19 

Eller, Alicia (Mrs. Craig) 240 

Eller, Craig 222 

Ellis, Reuben 17,64 

Emanci pation Controversy 110 

Embury, Philip 18 

Entertainment, Church sponsored 138 

Japanese Wedding, 1889 138 

Old Maid's Convention 138 

Rainbow Party, 1888 138 

Epworth League 45, 142 - 143, 169, 174, 
179-180, 183, 189-190,217 

became Methodist Youth Fellowship 


Epworth Hi League 1 80 

Junior League 143, 179 

membership 179 

both church and town youth 

Love, Mrs. F. S. president, 1918 183 

membership in 1919 180 

North Carolina Epworth League 
Assembly at Louisburg College, 1919 

reorganizations 180, 183 

Senior League at College, 1928 1 80 

Senior League officers, 1900 143, 

state conference in Raleigh, 1900 

suspension for influenza pandemic 

Fellowship Hall, 1999 215, 231, 244, 252 

and renovation of Blount Fellowhip Hall 

building and finance committees formed, 
1993 243 

completed, 1998 244 

Hickman, John, architect 244 

Ferguson, Ernest 59, 150, 185 

Financial Crusade for repairs, 1971 241 

"First brick church" 59, 88, 92, 109, 171 

Fleming, Helen Williams (Mrs. Arthur H.) 
174, 188 

Flowers for Soldiers 


Franklin Academy, 1789 42 

Franklin, Benjamin 2 

Friends of Temperance 106,139 

Fuller, Annie Thomas (Mrs. Jones) 122, 

137, 160- 162 

Fuller, Edwin Wiley 101, 138, 151, 154 - 


Sea-Gift, passages from 111 - 113 

superintendant of Sunday school 141 

Fuller, Jones 90, 97, 100, 122 - 125, 141, 
153 - 155, 160 

Fuller, W. Norwood 131 

Fund-raisers 182 

for "new building at College," 
1912-1913 182 

Little Women for church grounds 
beautification 1 82 

"musical" for Foreign Mission Board 

Furgurson, W. H. 131, 143, 148, 152, 
154, 162 

Furman, Ricky 57 - 58, 89 - 91, 93, 102 

Gantt,J. R. 185,190,195,204 

Garrettson, Freeborn 18, 62 - 63 

Gatch, Philip 36 - 37, 67 

Gholson, Ann 104 

Gibbs, Rev. J. T., Presiding Elder 150, 

Gifts, 1948-1975 222 - 223, 247 

Gilbert, Dr. Milton 231, 235, 237, 242 - 

243, 248 

Gilliam, Samson, deed, 1802 55, 57, 85 

Glendenning, William 31, 51, 62, 64, 68, 


Glenn, Governor Robert B. 116 

Goodlow, Robert 42 

Governor's Statewide Volunteer Award 


Granville County, NC 5, 8, 90 

Great Awakening, the 2 

Green Hill Conference, 1785 v, 16 - 18, 
20, 248 

Second, 1792 18 

Third, 1792 19 

Fourth, 1793 19 

Western, at Liberty Hill, 1808 (the 
camp-meeting conference) 21 

Green Hill House 77, 163, 248 


service at, 1959 224 
Green, Col. W. F. 128 
Greene, Gen. Nathaniel 10 
Griffin, Gen. Edward 1 99, 202, 204, 2 1 3, 

Guthrie, Thomas W. 46 - 47, 96, 109, 
124- 125, 140, 153 


Habitat for Humanity, 1988 234 - 235, 

Hagerty/Haggerty , John, and Sarah 32, 

converted by John King 32 

correspondence with Edward 
Dromgoole 32 

Halifax County, NC 3, 15, 18, 51, 53, 61, 

63, 67, 80, 157 

Harris, R. R. 139,148,153-154,162, 


Hasty, Jean (Mrs. L. C.) 233 

Hasty, L. C. 213 

Hayes/Hays , Hugh 42 

Haywood, E. Burke 47 

Heritage Sunday 232 

"High Attendance Sunday" in Sunday 

school 232 

Hester, James 57 

Hickman, John, architect, 1998 fellowship 
hall 244 

Hicks, L. P. 119, 131, 143, 148, 154, 
162, 170, 183- 184, 191,201 

Hill, Abraham, "Lord Wade" 25 

Hill, Charles A. 57, 80, 82, 84, 97, 99, 

103, 151 - 152, 155 

and Franklin Academy 103 
and Midway Academy 57, 103 

and the "Great Secession" from UNC 

letter to Daniel Shine 82 

state senator 57 

Hill, Daniel Shine 57 - 58, 85, 89 - 94, 
97, 99, 106, 120, 125, 127 - 128, 148, 152 - 
153, 164, 189 

and Civil War 120 

chairman of Church trustees 85 

chairman of parsonage committee 
58, 89 - 90 

choir director 85, 105 - 106, 148 
Hill, Florence (Mrs. Garland Jones) 127 

Hill, Green II v - vi, 5 - 27, 28, 39, 46 - 
47, 56 - 57, 65, 69, 77, 81, 88, 100, 131, 
151, 155, 196- 197,224 

ancestry 25 

and Francis Asbury 6, 13 - 21 

and Jesse Lee 11, 15 

and Liberty Hill, Williamson County, 
Tennessee 20 

appointed Bute County Magistrate 10 

appointed surveyor of property lines 

Bishop Robert Payne on 21 

built gristmill at Massic's Falls, 
Louisburg 13 

chaplain in Sharp's Company, 1781 

children of 22 - 23 

clerk of court, 1785 13 

committee on Tar River bridge 13 

delegate to Colonial assemblies 9 

elected councilor of state, 1783 13 

elected to first North Carolina legislature 

emigration to Tennessee 20 

flees Tories 24 

funeral 22 

I, the father 5, 26 

III, the son, clerk of court, Louisburg 

introduced bill for indigent in 
Legislature, 1779 11 

ordained as elder, 1813 21 

ordained deacon, 1792 19 

second major in Bute militia 10 

treasurer of District of Halifax, 1783 

witnesses deed to town of Louisburg 

Hill, Henry, Senator 42 

Hill, Jorden/Jordan 23 

Hill, Sarah Louisa (Mrs. Matthew S. Davis) 
45-46, 103, 152 

Hill, William 57 

Hill-King Memorial United Methodist 

Church 48 

Hobgood, Hamilton 199, 203 - 204, 220, 
224, 226 - 228, 238 

Holmes, Rev. Kenneth D. 131 

Honors and distinctions, 1965-1990 249 - 



House Acceptable Program 243 

House, "Aunt Abby" 108 - 109, 1 18 - 

Howard, Gen. O. O. 122 

Howard, Margaret Hicks 54, 58, 159, 
163, 185,201 

Hurlev, Rev. J. B. 97, 1 19, 134, 141 - 
142, 151, 154 

Huston, John 232, 244, 247, 250 


Infantile paralysis 169 
Influenza pandemic, 1918 183 
Ingleside 89,92,105,153 
Integration, extent of 236 
"Involve a Million" canvass, 1983 232 
Irish in early Methodism 3, 25, 65, 68, 73 
Ivey, Rev. T. N. 131 
Ivey, Richard 17, 64 


Jarrett, Devereux 2, 7 - 8 

Johnson, Ashur F. 171, 184 - 185, 191 - 
192, 204 

Jones, Dr. Turner M. 96, 110, 126 - 127 

Jones, Garland 127 

Jones, May 147, 165 - 166 

Jones, Roger, of Kittrell 15,76 

Jones's Springs 6 

Jump and Run Branch 105 


Kearney, Annie R. 58 

Kearney, H. A. 58 

Kehukce Baptist Church 3 

Kelly, John 57 

King, Benjamin Seawell 43, 47 

King, Elizabeth (Mrs. Geraldus Toole) 45 
- 46, 100 

King, Joel 47 - 48, 57 - 58, 77, 80, 82, 
89,91,93,97, 100, 102, 160 

King, John G. 89, 93, 102, 153 
King, John v - vi, 8 - 9, 14, 16-17, 22, 
28 - 48, 53, 56, 61, 63 - 65, 67 - 68, 74, 77, 
80, 84, 89, 97, 100, 125, 224 

acquired land in Franklin County, NC, 
1781 41-42 

acquired land in Wake County, NC, 
1780 42 

affirms allegiance to North Carolina 

and Asbury, 1772-73 34-37 

and 18th-century England 29, 48 

and Green Hill Conference, 1785 43 

arrival in Philadelphia 28 

assigned to Norfolk, VA, 1 774 38, 

assignment in New Jersey 36 - 37 

at quarterly meeting at Gunpowder 
Neck, 1773 37 

birth of daughter, Elizabeth, 1776 


children of 46 

death, 1795 43-45 

education 28 

enmity of rector of St. Paul's 37 

first Methodist sermon in Baltimore 

letter of reproof from John Wesley 
39 - 40 

licensed for preaching in country 28, 

made assistant for 1 774 


marriage to Sallie Seawell, 1775 39, 

parentage 28 

preaches at execution 35 - 36 

preaches with Pilmore 33 

retirement 43 

sermon in Potter's Field 30, 45 

trustee for Franklin Academy, 1787 

will 44, 48 

King, Sarah Helen 47 

Kirby, Dr. Wallace 231, 237 - 239, 243, 

Kornegay, Julia Holt (Mrs. Horace) 225, 


Lancaster, William 



Lavender, Betsy Spivev (Mrs. Paul) 

Lay preachers 52 - 53, 79, 89, 203 
Lee, Jesse 2, 11, 15, 17- 18,24,31,34, 
38, 51 - 53, 64, 66, 70, 81, 196, 224 

in Colonial army 11, 15 

superintendent of Gabriel Long's estate 



Left-wing and radical agencies, support 
questioned, 1983 236 - 237 

Lewis, John Wesley 92 - 94 

"colored classes," members 94 

"Plan of Appointment" for Tar River 
Circuit 92 

classes in congregation, members 93 

diary 99 

Liberty Hill 20 

Library, of Church 178 

Light fixtures, memorial, 1971 241 

Lincoln assassinated 122 

Literacy in 17th and 18th centuries 3 

Little Church for Youth (Rev. Vassar Jones), 
1971 238 

Littlejohn, Joseph B. 89, 92, 125, 153 

Lone Oak 57 

Long, Col. Nicholas, of Halifax 10 

Long, Gabriel 10, 14, 18, 42, 51, 56, 64, 
76, 79 - 80, 97, 100 

Long, Rebecca Wesley (Mrs. Charles A. Hill; 
Becky) 105 

Long, Sarah Richmond (Mrs. Daniel Shine) 
22, 42, 79, 97 - 98, 100, 122, 154, 189 

administrator of Gabriel Long's estate 

house at Main and Sunset 98 

"Louisburg and Methodism" by Mabel Davis 

Louisburg College vi - vii, 45, 98, 102 - 
103, 106, 119, 125 - 133, 138, 143 - 144, 
150, 162, 164 - 166, 172 - 174, 176, 180, 
184 - 185, 187 - 190, 194, 198 - 208, 212 - 
214, 216 - 222, 224 - 228, 230, 236, 238 - 
240, 244, 246, 248 - 250, 253 

"affiliated membership" in Church for 
students 175 

A. D. Wilcox on Church and College 

and Washington Duke 119, 129 - 
130, 132- 133 

Davis Building 174 

fire 1928 175 

financial agents 172, 174 

ministers as teachers 228 

ministers as presidents 126, 128 

The Collegian 120,164 

town mothers for students 1 75 

Louisburg Female Academy 47, 98, 102 

Louisburg Manor Retirement Center, 
worship services at 246 

Louisburg remembered 1820 82 

Love feast (agape) 52 

Lowe, Josiah 42 


Malone, Anna Richmond Fuller (Mrs. J. E.) 
124, 147, 149, 156, 165, 184, 188, 190, 204 

Malone, Dr. Ellis 89, 100, 102 - 103, 
106, 153, 155, 162 

Malone, Dr. James E, d. 1928 124, 128, 
147, 149, 153, 156 - 157, 161, 165, 184, 
190, 204 

Malone, Edwin 27, 103, 150 - 151, 184, 
190, 206 

Malone, James Ellis 103, 190, 227 

Malone, Mildred Wattcrs (Mrs. James E.) 
190, 205, 209 

Masonic Order 5 - 7 

Blandford-Butc Lodge 5 - 6, 8 

Johnson-Caswell No. 10 Lodge 6 

Masonic rites 7 

sermon, 1908 139 

Massenburg, Nicholas B. 57 - 58, 89 - 91, 
93, 96, 99 - 100, 104 - 105, 151, 153, 202 

Massey, Rev. L. S. 170, 173, 177, 182, 
184, 186 

on Louisburg College 173-174 

president of Louisburg College 173, 

McCullen, Rev. Alpheus 97, 1 1 7 - 1 19, 
134, 151, 153 

McDonald, Joyce Barkman (Mrs. Walter) 
222, 250 

McKendrce, William, Bishop 21 

McKinne, David S. 151 

McKinne, Frank B. 131, 151, 176 - 177 

Sunday-school superintendent 151, 

McKinne, Mrs. Frank B. 151, 181, 195 

Meeting houses 54 - 58, 61, 86, 101 

log 55 

Membership, numbers 110, 173, 198, 

1903-1937 173 

1940-1970 198 

1970-1990 251-252 
Memorial Fund created 174,222,241 
Mcrritt, Ruth Willard 205, 209, 225, 227 



and Revolution 42, 63 - 64 

as movement 2 - 3 

Day of Fasting and Prayer, 1867 124 

denomination declined nationally 
mid-1960's-1980's 230 

dominant in Legislature, 1899 117 

dominant in Louisburg in 1850's 


expansion in NC, 1770's-1780's 63 - 


General Conference of 1 793-94 19 

in social life, etc., of members 101 

in Virginia 2, 5 

Irish in early Methodism 65 

societies, bands, and classes 29, 51 - 

Methodist Men, 1950's-1964 219 - 220 

Methodist Youth Fellowship, 1953-1968 

Midway Academy 57, 84, 105 

Milikin, Ann (Mrs. William Richmond) 

Milikin, Col. James 80-81 

Ministers of the Church 

1859-1903 96-97,117-120 

1904-1940 170, 172 

1940-1970 198 

1970-1995 231 

Ministers of the church as presidents of the 
College 126, 128 

Green, Rev. J. A. 128 - 129 

Reid, Rev. Frank Lewis 128 

Minnick, Bishop C. P. 248, 252 

Missionary Society 116, 143 - 147, 151, 
172, 181 - 186, 189, 191, 193 - 194, 217, 

constitution 146 

departments of, 1918 181 

Bright Jewels 181 

Wesleyans 181 

Young People's Missionary Society, 
1918 181 

membership, 1898-1908 146 - 147 

North Carolina conference of, in 
Louisburg, 1909 181 

officers, 1880, 146 

Parsonage Aid Society, 1866 145 

record book, 1897-1909 146 

Seven Times Seven 

sketch of Louisburg Church 

organization 145 

statement of goal 146 

success of, 1920 - 1940 181 

young women's and business women's 
circle, 1937 182 

See United Methodist Women, 
Woman's Society for Christian Service 

Moore, William 62 

Moran, Dr. R. S. 96, 105, 121, 123 - 
125, 141, 153, 169 

Murphy, Caroline (Mrs. Earl) 207, 209, 

Murphy, Jane (Mrs. George) 244 



Courier 102, 159 

Franklin Times 102, 105 - 106, 117 - 
118, 128, 130, 134 - 135, 137, 139, 
141, 143, 147, 150, 152, 157, 159, 161, 
163 - 165, 167, 170 - 171, 179, 182, 
184, 188 

in 18th century 3, 6 

Non-church activities of members, 1890's, 
1902 139 

Farmers' Alliance 139 

Franklin County Bible Society 139 

Friends of Temperance 139 

Fusionist ticket 139 

Masonic sermon 139 

Populist Party 1 39 

United Daughters of Confederacy 

White Supremacy Club 139 

Norman, Rev. William Capers 97, 108, 
117- 118, 131, 137, 151, 161 

Norris, Dr. John Allen 236, 239, 243, 

Norton chimes, 1948 222 - 223 

Nuclear crisis, letter on, 1987 237 

Nutbush Chapel, Vance County 43 

Nutrition Center, 1974 233 


O'Kelly, James 14-15,62,64 

Official Roll 152 - 154, 183 - 186, 203 - 

Open itineracy, 1990 



Open-Itineracy Sunday, 1991 236 
Ordinances 34-37 

John King "neuter" on vote 34 

Quarterly Conference on, at Presbury's 


Organ 113,148,217,221-222,242 

1886 113, 148 

repairs 1959-1968 222 

replaced, 1984 242 

Organists, 1900-1970 188, 201, 216, 222 

Organization of the American Methodist 
groups (Asbury) 52 

Ormond, William vi, 62, 64 - 65, 72 - 78, 
93, 104 

and Daniel Shine 76 - 77 

and Edward Dromgoole 75 

and Francis Poythress 72, 77 

and Methodists near Franklinton 76 


Antinomianism, combats 73 
at Green Hill Conference, 1792 74 
at Shocco Springs 76 - 77 
birthplace Kinston 65, 73 
complains of ministers 75 

concern for organization and rules 


moves election of presiding elders 


moves that deacons be eligible for 
eldership 75 

urged buying and selling of slaves 
to prevent separation of families 

conversion 73 

deacon 75 

death from yellow fever 78 

elder 75 

journal, Perkins Library, Duke 78 

legacies to church 78 

Ormond's Chapel 78 

sold inherited land 73 

with Asbury 78 
Overton, Rev. James H. vii 
Owens, Rev. C. B. vii, 231, 253 

Parrish, Judy (Mrs. Billy G.) vii 

parsonages 59, 88 - 91, 101, 125, 147 - 
148, 171, 190 - 191, 214 - 215, 217 - 218, 
221, 241 - 243, 245 

first brick 59, 147 

for circuit riders 59, 88 - 92, 125 

committee on 89 

furnishings 90 

sale of 90-91,125 

for station, committee on 101, 125 

purchase of Patterson house and lot 

on Main, 1896 59, 147 - 148 

Partridge, Harriet (Mrs. John Bobbitt) 

Partridge, Sophia 102 

Passmore, Louise Egerton (Mrs. George) 
166, 195 

Pearce, Joseph A. vii, 102, 191, 218, 222, 
242, 244, 250 

Perry, Sister Frank , widow of John King 

Persian Gulf war, prayer concerning, 1991 


Person, Arthur W. 149 - 150, 184, 204, 

Person, Mary Anne Walker (Mrs. Maurice 
M.) vii, 234, 251 

Petersburg, VA 6 - 8, 38, 61 

Pettigrew, Charles, Rev. 66 

Pew renovation, 1990 243 

Pilmore/Pilmoor, Joseph 3, 28 - 35, 40, 

and John King 28 

and John Wesley 30, 40 

Plank Chapel 1 5, 76, 79, 89, 92, 94, 96, 

Pleasants, Josephine 145, 152, 160 

Pleasants, Mrs. Mortimer C. 144 - 145, 
181, 184 

Pleasants, W. H. 120, 122, 153, 159 - 
160, 177, 184, 199 

Plyler, Rev. & Mrs. M. T. 97, 143, 145, 

Portridge, Old, chapel 54 - 55, 72, 85, 91 

Poythress, Francis vi, 55, 62, 64, 68 - 72, 



Palmer, J. L. 150,184,187 

admitted to itinerancy 


Parham, Mrs. S. J. 140, 147, 204 - 205, 

and Asbury 69 


and Bethel Academy 



and Dcvcrcux Jarrctt 69 

and name Portis 72 

appointed presiding elder 69 

dissolute young life of 68 

mental decline 70, 72 

physical appearance 71-72 

presiding elder over fifteen North 
Carolina circuits 71 

recommended as bishop 70 

to Kentucky and Tennessee 70 

to New Hope Circuit 69 

Virginia origins 68 

Preaching styles 31, 39, 83 

Presbytcrianism 3, 5, 15, 101, 110 

Pre-School Program and Mothers' Time Out, 
1986 234 

Price, Reynolds 166 - 167 

Pride, Edward 41, 62 

Programs, movies, lectures, 1971-1995 

Prospect Church 48 


Quakers 3 

Quartette, of North Carolina Methodist 





Race Relations Sundav, 1972 

"Advance Special" 209 

became Human Relations Day, 1973 

Race riots, Wilmington 116 

Ray, A. H. 89, 93, 100, 102, 153 

Ray, Jane Curtis (Mrs. A. H.) 102 

Recognition for Service, 1953-1968 220 


Reconstruction 116 

Red Bud Creek plot 56 

Reedy Creek Baptist Church 3 

Restructuring of governing bodies, 1978, 
1991 237 

Revivalism 2 - 3, 5 - 6 

Revivals 2-3,63-64,94,134-135, 
179, 186- 187,214,216 

10 June, 1887 134 

1907-1937 186-187 

28 November, 1899 135 

altered form 1955-1965 216 

annual 186 

at Courthouse 6-13 October, 1899 

September 1863 134 

under Rev. Jesse Cunninggim, May 

1866 134 

Revolution, American v, 2, 5 - 8, 10, 16, 
42, 63 - 64, 80 

Salisbury Theater 10 

Ricaud, Rev. T. Page 90, 96, 128, 153 

Richmond, William 80-81 

Roanoke Circuit 51-52, 62, 75, 79, 83 

Robards, William 48 

Robbins, Dr. Cecil 206,213,216,227, 
245 - 246, 248 - 249 

Robbins, Eloise Sorrell (Mrs. Cecil) 222, 

Robert E. Lee 108, 140 

Rollins/Rollings , Isaac 34, 38, 61 

on ordinances 34 

"Rules of the Band Societies" 52 

Safe for records, 1964 223 

Scout sponsorship 223 

Cub Scout pack, 1959 223 

Girl Scouts, 1964 223 

sponsorship renewed, 1985 223 

Walter McDonald, scoutmaster, 1957 

Seawell family 8,21, 26, 39, 6 1 

Seawcll, Benjamin 21 

Seawell, Benjamin, Jr. 24, 39, 42, 74 

Seawell, Mary (Mrs. Green Hill II) 8, 22 

Seawcll, Sally (Mrs. John King) 8, 43, 47 

officiated as surgeon 47 

Seniors, activities, 1970's-1995 245 - 246 

Nutrition Program, Region K Senior 
Services, Inc. 246 

Shadford, George 41,62,64,69 

Shaw, Robert J. 47,100 

Shepherding Program, 1982 232 

Shine, Daniel vi, 55 - 56, 58, 61, 64 - 65, 
73, 76 - 77, 79, 81 - 85, 88, 97, 104 - 105 

as minister 79 

letters to 82 - 84 

from Charles A. Hill 82, 84 

from John Jones 82 


from Joseph Pinnell 83 

from Mar)' Long and Green Hill III 

marriage to Sarah Richmond Long 

opened school in Warrenton 82 
Skipwith, Sir Peyton 80 
Skipwith, Sir William 80 
Slavery 17 - 18, 43, 76 

and conference of 1 784 1 8 

and John King's retirement 43 

Ormond's motion on 76 

Smith, Rev. George F. 97, 119 - 120, 
130, 133 - 134, 142 - 143, 146, 148, 150, 
154, 164, 170, 172, 183, 186 

and Louisburg College 130, 133 

Mary Davis Allen on 1 19 - 120, 130 

Social Concerns Committee 209, 211 - 
212, 220, 225, 228, 232 - 238, 246, 249, 251 

becomes Committee on Church and 
Society 232 

Spiltimber, Elizabeth Green 26 

Spivey, Fcnner 201, 242 

Spragg, Samuel 38, 62 

Stalling's Crossroad 56, 85 

Station, the Church as 51, 61, 88 

Stoves and footwarmers 96 

Strawbridge, Robert 28, 32 - 35, 37, 65 

plea for ordinances 34, 37 

Sunday Evening Service, 1856 107 

Sunday school 101, 117, 125, 129, 131, 
140 - 144, 151, 153 - 154, 158, 165, 176 - 
178, 181, 183, 187 - 188, 193, 195 - 196, 
201, 214, 217, 219 - 220, 223 - 226, 231 - 

at circuit churches 141 - 142 

businessmen's class, 1920 187 

delegates to district conference in Cary 

during Civil War 125 

E. H. Davis teacher of Men's Bible Class, 
1928-1948 188 

Edwin Fuller as superintendent 141 

party in tobacco warehouse 142 

record books, 1890's 142, 144 

Sunday school at the college, 1900-1940 


state Sunday-school conventions 
129, 141 

Sunday school at the college, 1900-1940 


superintendents 177, 181 

Sunday-school building committee, 
1912 177 

superintendents after Frank McKinne 

superintendents, departmental, 1920's 

suspended in winter 125 


Tar River Circuit vi, 41, 53, 56, 58, 61 - 
65, 67, 72 - 73, 75 - 76, 78 - 79, 86, 88 - 91, 

Terry, Mary E. 48 

Theft of Bible 139 

Thomas, Anne Long (Mrs. Jordan) 85, 
97, 101, 122, 124 

letter to Sarah Shine 85 

Thomas, David 89 - 90, 93, 153 

Thomas, James Adolphus, "Dolly" 117, 
157, 159, 167, 170 - 171, 184, 191 

and Franklin Times 157, 159 

death, 1909 167, 170 

trustee of Church 1 70 

Thomas, Jordan 80, 85, 97 - 98 

Thomas, Nancy 8 

Toole, Geraldus 44, 47, 100, 105 

Toole, Susan Irwin (Mrs. Daniel S. Hill) 

Trustees, rules for electing 56 

Trusts, "trust magnates" 116,133 

Tucker, Blair 58, 144 

Turner, Mrs. J. A. 143, 146, 172, 181, 
183, 185, 191 

on Rev. J. G. Phillips 172 


UNICEF supported, 1972 236 

United Methodist Men, Women, activities, 
1950,1996 217,244 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
7,67-68,84, 103, 111, 154,156- 157 

and "Great Secession" 84 

first building, dedication 7 

Upper Room, The 92,189 


Vacation bible schools 1929, 1980s 



Value, replacement 243 

of church property, 1990 243 

of church, 1970 241 
Van Cortland family 5 
Van Rennsclacr family 5, 27 
Viet Nam War 236 

Message from Council of Bishops 


Volcan, Volunteers in Mission, to Costa Rica, 
1995 235 


Wade, John 38, 61 

Ward, James, architect, consultant, 1986 

Warrenton, NC 6, 48, 76, 79, 82, 84, 97, 
103, 146, 164 - 165, 166 

Washington, George 7, 1 1 

Watters, William 37, 62, 68 

Welsh, R. H. and Lina J. 58 

Wesley, John v, 2 - 3, 28, 30, 34, 39-41, 

and Joseph Pilmore 40 

arrival of representatives of 9 

letter to John King 40 

on Methodism in NC in Revolution 

Whitaker, Dr. R. H. 55, 108, 1 19 - 120, 
131, 156 

White supremacy 116,139 

White, Mrs. W. E. 140, 147, 172, 184, 

letter to bishop 172 

Whitcfield, George 2, 5 

Wilcox, Armour David 172, 174 - 183, 
185 - 186, 192 

minister of Church 172, 174 - 175 

on Christian education in a secular 
society 1 76 

opera-house presentation 172 

president of Louisburg College 1 72, 

Willard, Dr. George-Anne 246 

Williams, Alfred 47 

Williams, Helen (Mrs. Arthur H. Fleming) 
174, 188 

Williams, Robert 8, 28, 31 - 33, 35, 38, 
40, 62 - 64, 69 

Williams, Sallic 174 

Willis, Henry 17,62,64 

Wilson, Kelly, Jr. 59, 198 

Wilson, Linda (Mrs. Woody) 235, 239 

Wilson, Rev. N. H. D. 136, 153, 172, 
180, 183 

Windows, stained-glass 

installed, 1900 150-152 

repaired, 1981 242 

Womans' Society for Christian Service, 
1 948- 1 972 204, 2 1 2, 2 1 7, 226 

see United Methodist Women, 1972 

Women representatives to district conferences, 
1855-1898 143 

Mrs. J. A. Turner 143 
Work and study projects, 1945-1967 211 
World War I 169 
World War II 159,198-203 

"Four Star Families" 200 

members of congregation in armed 
forces 199 - 203 

Yarborough, "Aunt Harriet" 94, 109 - 110 

Yarborough, Janic (Mrs. Osmond) 188, 

Yeargan, Andrew 41, 62 

Yolanda Jones Developmental Center, 1972 
194,231-234, 249 

gets federal grant 233 

Mary Lee Rose, director 233 

to Egerton/Wynne house, 1978 59, 

233, 242 

with Mental Health center 233 

Youth activities, 1970-1996 237-241 

facilities available to Louisburg College 
students, 1970 238 

low participation discussed with 
Kenneth H. Davis 238 

movie on alcohol and drugs discussed 
with Judge Hamilton Hobgood 238 

"rap sessions" in Louisburg College 
dorms with Rev. Vassar Jones 239 

summer camping, 1971 238 

Youth culture of the 1 920's 180-181 

Youth directors/associates, 1973-1994 
239 - 240 

discussed with Baptist and Episcopal 

churches 237 

response to declining youth participation 





Bridgeport National 
Bindery, Inc. 

JULY 2004